Preventive Dentistry From Your Hygienist in Cheshunt
Dental hygiene treatment includes professionally cleaning the teeth for the patient. This is usually called scaling and polishing.
However, perhaps our most important role is showing the patient the best way to keep the teeth free of plaque.
Our Cheshunt hygienists and dentists also play an important role in treating gum disease.
Screening for gum disease forms an integral part of your routine examination.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease describes swelling, soreness or infection of the tissues supporting the teeth. There are two main forms of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontal disease.
What is gingivitis?
Gingivitis means inflammation of the gums. This is when the gums around the teeth become very red and swollen. Often the swollen gums bleed when they are brushed during cleaning.
What is periodontal disease?
Long-standing gingivitis can turn into periodontal disease. There are a number of types of periodontal disease and they all affect the tissues supporting the teeth. As the disease gets worse the bone anchoring the teeth in the jaw is lost, making the teeth loose. If this is not treated, the teeth may eventually fall out.
What is the cause of gum disease?
All gum diseases are caused by plaque. Plaque is a film of bacteria which forms on the surface of the teeth and gums every day. Many of the bacteria in plaque are completely harmless, but there are some that have been shown to be the main cause of gum disease. To prevent and treat gum disease, you need to make sure you remove all the plaque from your teeth every day. This is done by brushing and flossing.
What happens if gum disease is not treated?
Unfortunately, gum disease progresses painlessly on the whole so that you do not notice the damage it is doing. However, the bacteria are sometimes more active and this makes your gums sore. This can lead to gum abscesses, and pus may ooze from around the teeth. Over a number of years, the bone supporting the teeth can be lost. If the disease is left untreated for a long time, treatment can become more difficult.
How do I know if I have gum disease?
The first sign is blood on the toothbrush or in the rinsing water when you clean your teeth. Your gums may also bleed when you are eating, leaving a bad taste in your mouth. Your breath may also become unpleasant.
Bad breath is a very common problem and there are many different causes. Persistent bad breath is usually caused by the smelly gases released by the bacteria that coat your teeth and gums.
However, strong foods like garlic and onions can add to the problem. Smoking is also one of the main causes of bad breath, along with certain illnesses such as nasal and stomach conditions.
Bits of food that get caught between the teeth and on the tongue will rot and can sometimes cause an unpleasant smell. So correct and regular brushing is very important to keep your breath smelling fresh.
The bacteria on our teeth and gums (plaque) also cause gum disease and dental decay. If you see your dentist regularly this will not only help prevent bad breath but will also let the dentist look for and treat these problems.
Decay may or may not cause discomfort; even though it doesn’t hurt, the tooth is deteriorating.
Using higher magnification and powerful lighting, it is easier to detect decay at an early stage to prevent excessive tooth damage. When cavities are small, they are much easier and less expensive to treat.
Early tooth decay does not tend to show many physical signs. Sometimes the tooth looks healthy, but your dentist will be able to see from an x-ray whether you have any decay under the enamel, any possible infections in the roots, or any bone loss around the tooth.
Mouth cancer is a malignant growth which can occur in any part of the mouth, including the tongue, lips and throat. Mouth cancers have a higher proportion of deaths per number of cases than breast cancer, cervical cancer or skin melanoma. The mortality rate is just over 50%, despite treatment, with about 1,700 deaths per year in the UK. This is because of late detection. Visit your dentist at once if you notice any abnormal problems or are not sure. Regular dental checkups allow early detection of abnormalities in the mouth.
The Mouth Cancer Foundation is a registered charity that raises awareness of mouth cancers and provides information and support to patients, carers and health professionals.
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Our local hygienist and dentist in Cheshunt aim to prevent dental disease rather than treat it at a later date.
Fluoride applications and fissure sealants (tooth coloured sealants) are applied to biting surfaces of children's teeth to prevent decay.