Although cavities tend to be associated predominantly with children, when factors like eating sugary snacks and poor brushing techniques increase the risk of tooth decay, adults are not immune. But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the rates of untreated tooth decay are actually much higher among adults. Like gum disease, tooth decay typically starts with a small cavity and gets worse over time. Without treatment, decay can lead to pain, infection, and even tooth loss in extreme cases. But the good news is that cavities and tooth decay are preventable. In addition to practicing good oral hygiene at home, Dr. Jill Markos, a dentist in Vancouver, WA, recommends following American Dental Association (ADA) guidelines for a dental checkup and cleaning every six months.
Tooth Decay Prevention and Treatment in Vancouver, WA
So you already brush after meals and floss every day - congratulations! You're off to a great start. Practicing thorough oral hygiene on a regular basis is the first step in preventing those pesky cavities and other common oral health problems like gum disease, which can cause everything from bleeding gums on the mild end of the spectrum, to tooth loss at the most severe stages (known as periodontitis).
But there are a few other important steps to take in order to keep your teeth and gums healthy at every age:
- See your dentist for preventive treatment - Many people wait until something is wrong to go to the dentist, but going to the dentist at least once or twice a year is a critical part of prevention and a good oral health care plan.
- Eat for your oral health - Dietary factors that are damaging to your general health, like eating and drinking too much sugar or consuming too much alcohol, also put your oral health at risk. Limiting sugary food and drinks and drinking alcohol in moderation will lower your risk of tooth decay.
Find a Dentist in Vancouver, WA
Don't leave your oral health to chance. Contact our office today by calling (360) 693-2544 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Markos for a comprehensive dental exam and cleaning.
The loss of just one tooth can have a dramatic impact on your smile. Fortunately, dental implants, an innovative tooth restoration option, provide an effective way to fill the gaps in your teeth. Our Vancouver, WA, dentist, Dr. Jill Markos, explains how implants can improve and restore your smile.
Tooth loss doesn't just affect your appearance
It's not unusual to feel a little self-conscious about the way you look after you lose a tooth. Although concerns about self-esteem are common, the consequences of tooth loss aren't limited to appearance only. If you don't replace your missing tooth, chewing can become more difficult, particularly if you've lost a molar or pre-molar. Eventually, your other teeth may try to fill the gap in your smile by drifting toward the opening. As they begin to overlap, you may notice changes in your appearance and in your bite. Cavities may also be more likely to occur if you can't completely remove plaque from the areas of the teeth that overlap.
Replacing the lost tooth with a bridge, dentures or a dental implant will prevent shifting from occurring and making chewing easier. Although all of these methods can restore missing teeth, dental implants are the only option that replaces the entire tooth.
The titanium implant serves as replacement root and anchors a dental crown that replaces the visible part of your missing tooth. Because implants bond to your jawbone, they're designed to become a permanent part of your smile. Implants are placed during a minor procedure in an oral surgeon's office. After bonding occurs in about three to six months, you'll visit our Vancouver office to be fitted for your new crown. Once the crown is attached to the implant, your tooth will be fully restored.
Implants keep your jaw strong
Jaw resorption is a common consequence of tooth loss. Resorption occurs when the jawbone shrinks due to lack of stimulation from tooth roots. Replacing missing roots with dental implants prevents this serious problem. The implants place continual pressure on the jawbone, just as the natural roots did. Without dental implants, you may eventually experience facial sagging and loose teeth as a result of the shrinking jawbone.
Dental implants offer an excellent solution no matter how many teeth you've lost. Call our Vancouver, WA, dentist, Dr. Jill Markos. at (360) 693-2544 to schedule an appointment to discuss this long-lasting restoration option.
Dental sealants can help your child avoid cavities by preventing tooth decay. The surfaces of the teeth are full of tiny pits and grooves that make excellent hiding places for food particles and bacteria. Regular brushing is not always sufficient to completely clear away trapped bacteria. When bacteria lingers in these grooves on tooth surfaces, decay sets in and cavities develop. Dental sealants fill in the tiny pits and grooves on tooth surfaces so nothing gets trapped, leading to healthier teeth. Dr. Jill Markos is your dentist in Vancouver, WA, for dental sealants.
How Sealants Help
As indicated, sealants help prevent tooth decay by sealing the pits and grooves on teeth where cavity-causing bacteria tend to get trapped. Trapped bacteria flourishes by penetrating tooth enamel and accessing important nutrients inside the tooth. Sealants protect teeth by both preventing bacteria from getting trapped in surface grooves and from penetrating tooth enamel. In short, sealants make it difficult for bacteria to flourish, which reduces the risk of tooth decay. Children with sealants are far less likely to develop cavities than those without sealants.
Sealants are typically applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. Before applying sealants, the teeth are thoroughly cleaned to ensure no bacteria, plaque, or other debris gets permanently trapped beneath the sealant. After cleaning the teeth, your child’s Vancouver dentist brushes the sealant directly on the surface of the back teeth. Once applied, the sealants are dried using a special light that cures and hardens them. With proper care, the hardened sealants should remain in place for several years and will protect against cavities and tooth decay.
Dental sealants can protect your child’s teeth against cavities. Sealants create a smooth surface on teeth that makes it difficult for harmful bacteria to linger and penetrate delicate tooth enamel. Children with dental sealants are significantly less likely to develop cavities versus kids without sealants. To learn more about getting sealants for your child, schedule an appointment with Dr. Markos, you child’s Vancouver dentist, by calling the office at (360) 693-2544.
If decay has weakened your teeth, tooth-colored fillings can be used to fill in and strengthen a tooth after removing decay. An added benefit of tooth-colored fillings is that they match the color of your teeth and blend in without being noticeable to others. Dr. Jill Markos, your Vancouver, WA dentist, can make your teeth strong and healthy again with tooth colored fillings.
Tooth Colored Fillings
For years, silver amalgam fillings were the traditional choice for filling cavities in teeth. One drawback, though, is the silver spots on teeth that are readily visible to others when smiling or speaking. Tooth colored fillings are a much more discreet option for filling cavities. Tooth colored fillings are typically made from a resin material that is cured with a special light in order to achieve the best color match to your existing teeth. With tooth colored fillings, no one has to know you even have fillings at all.
Tooth colored fillings offer several benefits. Teeth weakened by decay or damage are made strong again and normal tooth functions, such as biting and chewing, are restored. Additionally, cleaning out the decay and filling in the problem tooth prevents decay and infection from spreading. This improves the health of the tooth. Tooth colored fillings also have a major advantage over other, more conspicuous, dental fillings. As mentioned, since they are light cured to match the color of your existing teeth, they blend right in.
Tooth colored fillings can make your teeth strong and healthy again, while also being discreet. Dr. Markos is your Vancouver, WA dentist for tooth colored fillings. To schedule an appointment, call the office at (360) 693-2544.
What your dentist in Vancouver wants you to know
If you’ve grown up keeping good oral hygiene habits, you’re lucky. Many adults grew up during a time when good oral hygiene wasn’t part of their daily routines. That’s why many adults have a mouth full of fillings and crowns. Thankfully, times have changed! Children, teens and young adults are now growing up with the skills necessary for a beautiful, strong smile.
If you or your children haven’t begun practicing good oral hygiene habits, it’s not too late! Dr. Jill Markos in Vancouver, WA, wants to help you develop the skills necessary so you can enjoy a great smile for life.
It’s important to practice good oral hygiene habits because it’s the best way to remove plaque. It’s important to remove plaque thoroughly and regularly because plaque contains millions of tiny bacteria that can destroy your smile. The bacteria in the plaque produce toxins strong enough to eat away at tooth enamel, causing tooth decay. The toxins can also infect your gums, causing gum disease, and destroy the supporting bone, causing periodontal disease.
You can do a lot to prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and periodontal problems by following these simple steps:
Brush your teeth after meals and before you go to sleep. Always use a soft-bristled toothbrush with fluoride toothpaste and brush your teeth in a gentle, circular motion. You don’t need to press down hard; it’s the movement, not the pressure that cleans your teeth. Brush along the gumline, at an angle between the teeth and gums.
Floss at least once each day to get in between your teeth, where the toothbrush can’t reach. Using a small piece of floss or floss picks, wrap around each tooth as you floss. This technique helps the floss adhere to the shape of the tooth so you are able to floss the roots and deep down in between teeth.
You can also add a fluoride mouthrinse before you go to sleep. Allow the mouthrinse residue to remain on your teeth so that it may remineralize your tooth enamel.
Good oral hygiene habits are simple and don’t require much time out of your day, but the benefits are great. For more information about good oral hygiene habits and other dental issues, call Dr. Markos in Vancouver, WA. She can partner with you to make your smile great, so call today!
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