3 of the Most Serious Oral Health Problems
There are several conditions that can negatively impact your oral health. Some are more serious than others. In this article, we will explore three of the most serious oral health problems and discuss the most common treatments for each.
At Ridgewood Dental Associates, serving Ridgewood, NJ, Bergen County, NJ, and surrounding areas, our dentists offer a wide range of preventative, restorative, and cosmetic procedures. No matter what your oral health concerns are, we have the expertise and knowledge to address them.
#1: Tooth Decay
Nearly everyone has had a cavity at some point in their lives. Tooth decay develops when plaque and tartar stay on the teeth for too long. Bacteria feed off of these deposits, causing acids to form. These acids eat away at the tooth structure, making them more vulnerable to decay.
Though tooth decay is a common condition, it can be quite dangerous when left untreated. For example, an untreated cavity can ultimately lead to a dental abscess – an infection that starts beneath the gums and can potentially travel to other areas of the body.
There are several procedures available that can address tooth decay. Small cavities are typically treated with dental fillings. Moderate cavities may be treated with inlays or onlays – custom restorations that fit into your tooth structure like puzzle pieces. Teeth that are badly decayed or broken down may require a dental crown. This type of restoration fits over the entire visible tooth structure for added strength and stability.
In extreme cases, a decayed tooth may need to be extracted. When tooth loss occurs, it is best to discuss replacement options right away. Our team can help you determine the best treatment during a consultation at our practice.
#2: Gum Disease
Gum disease is the number one cause of tooth loss in American adults. In the early stages, this condition is characterized by gum tissue that is red, puffy, or tender. Left untreated, the infection can travel down beneath the gums and erode the supporting bone. As pockets around the roots become larger, the teeth become more mobile. Eventually, gum disease can lead to tooth loss.
Not only does gum disease affect your oral health, but it also impacts your overall health as well. Bacteria found in the mouth can travel to major organs via your bloodstream. In fact, gum disease has been linked to serious medical issues like stroke, heart disease, and diabetes.
Gum Disease Treatments
When detected early, gum disease can typically be reversed with a simple dental cleaning at your dentist’s office. However, if bone loss has already occurred, then the condition can be treated and then managed with periodontal therapy. This may include scaling and root planing, traditional gum surgery, or laser surgery.
Following any gum disease treatment, patients will be placed on a periodontal maintenance schedule. Individuals who are prone to gum disease may need to see their dentist for more frequent cleanings.
#3: Oral Cancer
Oral cancer affects nearly 53,000 Americans every year. This disease has a high mortality rate – not because it is particularly difficult to treat, but because it is rarely detected in the early stages. Only 57 percent of individuals diagnosed with oral cancer this year will still be alive in five years.
Oral Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment
Because early detection is key, our team is committed to performing oral cancer exams at every routine visit. During this assessment, your dentist will check for any lumps, bumps, or abnormalities. If any irregularities are found, a soft tissue biopsy can be performed. If the tissue shows cancerous or precancerous cells, we will refer you to an oncologist for further testing and treatment.
Contact Us to Schedule a Consultation
Some oral health conditions may seem minor, but they can affect your health in a significant way. If it has been some time since you have been to the dentist, schedule a consultation at our Ridgewood, NJ, practice. Contact us online or call us at (201) 652-2474.