Preventative

Understanding the Five Stages of Tooth Decay

September 4th, 2018


 

Did you know there are five distinct stages of tooth decay? And, in the first stage of decay, you can actually take steps to reverse the progression of the disease? Indeed, it’s true. In the first stage of decay, whether you’re a child or an adult, the application of fluoride via fluoride treatments, your toothpaste and even the local water supply can stop a cavity from penetrating through the enamel and reaching its second stage. Even the saliva in your mouth and the foods you eat help to re-mineralize a tooth in jeopardy. But that’s just the first stage! What about the rest? Understanding how a cavity progresses can assist you in preventing each successive stage from occurring in you, and your children. There’s always a lot going on in your mouth!

Stage One: White Spots
In stage one, the tooth begins to show signs of strain from the attack of sugars and acids, and white spots will begin to materialize just below the surface of the enamel. These white spots are representative of the demineralization of the tooth and can be easy to miss because they’re likely to occur on your molars. A dental exam, of course, is designed to catch such cavities! Can you see why regular visits to the Hygienist are recommended? As mentioned previously, at this stage, the cavity can be repaired without the need to excavate the tooth. It is much less expensive to fix at this early stage. This is why it is extremely important to see your Hygienist every six months.

Stage Two: Enamel Decay
Stage two marks the beginning of the end for the surface enamel that is being attacked.
Initially, the tooth erodes from the underside outward, so the outer enamel will still be intact for the first half of this second stage. Once the cavity breaks through the surface of the enamel, there is no turning back, and you will need to have the cavity corrected with a
filling. Catching the cavity in Stage One would have completely avoided a filling.

Stage Three: Dentin Decay
If a cavity in your mouth were to progress beyond stage two without you knowing,
you’d tend become aware of it when it started to hit stage three because it would probably
start to cause some pain. At this level, the cavity begins to eat away at the second level of
tooth material that lies beneath the enamel: the dentin. A filling can still be used to stop the onslaught of bacteria assaulting the tooth in order to prevent the cavity from reaching the tooth’s most critical component: the pulp.

Stage Four: Involvement of The Pulp
Once the cavity reaches the pulp, it’s going to hurt. A lot. So if you’ve unfortunately missed all the signs to this point, the throbbing pain will let you know there is a big problem. Stage four is serious, and a root canal is the only option of treatment at this stage, save for a complete extraction. This is the stage where the pain starts getting severe, and you are wishing you had seen your dentist sooner.

Stage Five: Abscess Formation
In the fifth and final stage of a cavity, the infection has reached the tip of the root and exited the tip of the tooth’s structure. This in turn infects the surrounding tissues and possibly the bone structure. Swelling would be commonplace and pain severe. In children (as well as adults) an abscess can be fatal if not dealt with immediately. Root canal or extraction would be the order of the day, should decay reach this stage. This is the stage where the pain is abosolutely unbearable, and you are wishing you were dead. Nobody wants to end up at Stage Five.

If you have not seen your Hygienist within the last
six months, now is the time to call (903)465-4055 and make an appointment for you and your family with Jodi, or Jamye.

As you can see, cavities don’t happen overnight. In the early stages, regular visits can stall and reverse the progression of these dastardly little devils, so it really does pay to visit the dentist, at least, every six months. You can keep yourself, and your family far from stage five, and all of that pain, for a lifetime.

End of Year Benefits - Use Them, or Lose Them

September 15th, 2016

We are almost to the last quarter of 2016. Did you know that you could actually save hundreds of dollars by using your dental benefits before the end of the year? Your yearly maximum renews every year on January 1st, when your plan is based on a calendar year.

If you have unused benefits, or money on an HSA/Flex/Benefit card, they will not rollover. Your deductible also starts over.

Why would you want to give up hundreds of dollars in benefits when you have already paid your monthly premiums?

When you are paying your dental plan premiums every month, you should be using your benefits. Even if you don’t need any dental treatment, you should always have your regular dental cleanings to help prevent and detect any early signs of cavities, gum disease, oral cancer and other dental problems. By delaying dental treatment, you are risking more extensive and expensive treatment down the road.

We are here to help you maximize your dental benefits. Call us at (903)465-4055 with any questions, and don’t forget to ask about qualified financing! The best part is, you don’t lose any of your benefits that you have already paid for. What may be a cavity now, could turn into a root canal later.

So call today and make an appointment to use those benefits that you’ve already paid for.

Don't forget to ask about qualified financing!

Just remember, what may be a cavity now, could turn into a root canal later.

Back to School with a Healthy Smile

August 5th, 2016

It's Back to School time, are your kids starting the school year off with a clean bill of health? According to the American Dental Association, a dental examination is as important as immunizations and booster shots and should be a regular part of back-to-school preparations. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that tooth decay affects U.S. children more than any other chronic infectious disease and 19% of children ages 2 to 19 years old have untreated tooth decay. Dental pain or disease can lead to difficulty in learning as well as hours of missed school.

Here are some things you can do to Keep your child's teeth and gums healthy.

1. Regular dental examinations are recommended to diagnose, and treat or prevent dental problems. Fluoride treatment and Sealants are an inexpensive way to help prevent that nasty tooth decay.

2. Regular brushing with fluoride toothpaste and flossing is a must.

3. Eat healthy lunches and snacks, including grains, milk, cheese, raw vegetables, yogurt or fruit. Cut back on sugary foods and soft drinks.

4. Wearing a properly fitted mouth guard while participating in organized sports is a must if you want to avoid costly tooth repairs.

Follow these steps and you will instill, in you child, the importance of teeth and gum care. Your child's dental habits in the early years will set the pace for their dental health all the way in to adulthood.

Elizabeth Lopez - Lewis
Chief Operating Officer at Lake Texoma Dental Care & Wellness

Save Your Pearly Whites During National Candy Month

June 16th, 2016

Jamye Lott
Registered Dental Hygienist
Lake Texoma Dental Care & Wellness

June is National Candy Month! Dental professionals cringe at the thought of a whole month dedicated to those, sugar laden, cavity causing, confectionary delights. Now don’t get me wrong, It’s OK to have candy now and then. Just choose your candy wisely, and don’t gorge.

High quality chocolate is a good place to start. The chocolate typically found contains very little cacao, which is the basic ingredient in chocolate. The mass marketed chocolate is usually high in sugar and saturated fats. It’s not good for your body, or your teeth. High quality chocolate is made from cacao beans, which have tannins, and polyphoneols which can stop the development of bacteria in the mouth and plaque. Always choose dark chocolate without too much sugar. Now you can enjoy your Chocolate.

You can also choose sugar free candies. Xylitol is a popular sweetener used in sugar free candy. Xylitol has been shown to inhibit the growth of the oral bacteria that causes cavities.

If you don’t want to buy in to the hype of National Candy Month, choose other snacks and goodies like, nuts, string cheese, pretzels, or chips. Although, these can still be considered junk food, it’s still better than candy loaded with sugar.

No matter what you choose to snack on, you should always follow good dental hygiene. Prevention is still the #1 way to avoid cavities.

The American Dental Association recommended tooth decay prevention techniques for adults and children are,

• Bruch at least twice daily with toothpaste containing fluoride, and floss teeth.
• Eat well-balanced meals with limited sugar and starch intake.
• Visit you r dentist twice a year for cleanings and oral examinations.
• Consider having your dentist apply dental sealants. Sealants are a coating that protects the enamel, to the chewing surfaces of your teeth.

Now take these suggestions, schedule your tooth cleaning, and enjoy National Candy Month!!!!!

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