The Tooth Whisperer

Published on May 27, 2012 by

Your tooth is telling me that it wants to stay in your mouth for a very long time, but it is not too pleased with the way you are taking care of it.” Diagnostic tests for dental caries, gingivitis and periodontitis are non-invasive. This is due to the fact that the teeth are exposed to the environment and can be visualized by looking into oral cavity (mouth).
During a clinical examination, a dental explorer is used by dental professionals to help diagnose dental caries. When the explorer is placed into a cavity it will usually stick into the decayed area. Dental radiographs (X-rays) are used to help the dental professional diagnose caries that cannot be viewed by the naked eye.
Clinical signs and symptoms of gingivitis are redness, swelling, bleeding on gentle probing, and spontaneous bleeding and/or visible pus in the absence of any bone loss, periodontal pocketing, or apical tissue migration along the tooth root. Clinical signs of gingivitis can usually be seen after 10-20 days of plaque accumulation. These signs of inflammation are usually precursors to attachment loss around the teeth, which would then be referred to as periodontal disease (periodontitis). Gingival recession is considered periodontitis due to the loss of attachment around the teeth. If allowed to progress, gingivitis can turn into periodontitis, the invasion of the underlying bone that anchors the teeth in place. As that happens, the gums may recede, exposing the root surfaces and increasing sensitivity to heat and cold. Teeth may even loosen because of bone destruction.
Periodontal disease is usually painless until late in the disease process, when the teeth are so loose that some discomfort may occur while chewing. Retention of food in a pocket site may provoke a sudden burst of microbial growth that can result in a painful abscess. At other times, the anterior teeth may become so loose that they separate and the patient may visit the dentist because of the resulting poor esthetics. However, under ordinary circumstances, it is bleeding upon brushing and/or concern over halitosis that brings the patient to the dentist. A thorough dental examination should find any existing pockets. If these pockets bleed upon probing, the tissue is inflamed and warrants therapeutic intervention.
The best things that you can do for your teeth and gums are to appropriately care for them. This includes daily removal of bacteria (i.e., the source of inflammation) by mechanical cleaning with a toothbrush and floss, eating properly, and using the best available oral health care products. You should visit your dentist at least twice a year for routine checkups and cleanings to rule out any dental problems. Your tooth/teeth will be happier and will help to in your goal to get and stay healthy.

Filed under: Prevention

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