What is Plaque?

Plaque is the accumulation of bacteria, microorganisms and their products which sticks to the tooth surfaces. Dental plaque is soft and easily removed by brushing and flossing the teeth. Accumulation of plaque can lead to gum disease (gingivitis) and periodontal disease, as well as tooth decay.

What is Calculus (Tartar)?

Calculus is dental plaque that has mineralized. Calculus can form when plaque is not removed from the tooth surfaces. This plaque becomes old and eventually forms into calculus. Calculus can form above or below the gumline. The bacteria that sticks to calculus can cause gum disease (gingivitis) or periodontal disease. Calculus cannot be removed by brushing and flossing. A dental hygienist checks for calculus formation when you visit the dental office. It is removed with special instruments designed to adapt to the tooth surface affected without causing trauma to the soft gums.

What is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums. Some common features associated with gingivitis are red and swollen gums, and the presence of bleeding while brushing and flossing. The cause of gingivitis is the bacteria in dental plaque. This disease is reversible with good oral hygiene practices.

What is Periodontal Diseases?

Periodontal disease is destruction of bone and the structures supporting the teeth. Unfortunately periodontitis is irreversible, but you can stop its progression through good oral hygiene and visiting your dental professional.

- Gums that bleed when you brush or floss your teeth.
- Gums that are red, swollen or tender.
- Gums that have pulled away from teeth.
- Infection including purulence(pus) between the teeth and gums when the gums are pressed.
- Permanent teeth that are loose or separating.
- Any changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite.
- Any changes in the fit of your partial denture.
- Bad breath.
- Itchy sensation.

What is a Cavity?

A cavity is the destruction of the tooth enamel, dentin, cementum and may involve the tooth pulp.

How does a Cavity Form?
The formation of a cavity is due to many factors. For example, the tooth itself plays a role (how strong it is); the mouths ability to cleanse itself (your flow of saliva); diet (frequency and selection of sugary foods); the bacteria in your mouth (good or bad); and the length of time the tooth is under attack by the bacteria in your mouth.

Good Habits to Help Prevent Cavities
1. regular visits with your dental professional on an appointment schedule that he/she recommends based on your own needs. Regular visits will ensure you have the benefits of preventive care and early diagnosis, as well as, treatment for any dental problems. Guidance about home dental care can also be provided to avoid future problems.
2. diet plays an important role. Minimize the frequency of sugary foods, thus reducing the amount of acid produced. Select snacks that are less cavity causing, such as fresh fruit, plain yogurt and raw vegetables.
3. the use of fluoride will help decrease the risk of cavity formation.
4. good plaque control. Maintain a strict and regular home care routine to minimize plaque growth.
5. it is recommended that you consult your dental professional before using any commercial products. 6. You want to make a selection based on the effectiveness of the product and your own personal needs.

What is Bad Breath (Halitosis)?

Bad breath (halitosis) can cause embarrassment, create social and psychological barriers , and even affect marriages.

CAUSES: The majority of bad breath problems begin in the mouth.

- Bad breath that is of oral cavity origin can be traced to a sulfur compound produced by bacteria. Dead and dying bacterial cells release this sulfur compound, which gives the breath an unpleasant odor.
- Bacterial plaque and food debris accumulate on the back of the tongue. The tongue's surface is extremely rough and bacteria can accumulate easily in the cracks and crevices.
- The tooth attracts bacteria containing plaque and if not cleaned regularly and thoroughly, this can result in large accumulations of bacteria which result in bad breath.
- People who have periodontitis often experience bad breath because of bacteria accumulating in areas that are not cleaned easily, such as deep pockets around teeth.
- Fortunately, treatment is very effective for people who have bad breath of mouth origin.

What is Orthodontics (Braces)?

Orthodontics is the science of straightening and correcting teeth.

Who Needs Orthodontic Treatment?
- Children as well as adults, are choosing to have orthodontic treatment for several reasons:
- During the preteen and teenage years, the jaws are growing and maturing, therefore it is easier to shift teeth at this stage rather than later on in adulthood.
- More adults are choosing to have orthodontic treatment in order to improve the appearance of their teeth. Since their jaws are no longer growing, treatment may take a little longer.

What is an Impacted Wisdom Tooth ?

A tooth becomes impacted due to lack of space in the dental arch and gum, bone, another tooth or all three therefore prevent its eruption. Lack of space occurs because our jaws have become smaller (through evolution), we do not loose teeth through decay as frequently as in the past, and our diet is such that our teeth do not wear down as much.

What is Root Canal Treatment?

Today, with modern dentistry, root canal treatment has become a common form of treatment for diseased (abscessed) teeth.

HERE'S HOW IT'S DONE: In healthy teeth, the interior of the tooth is filled with tissue (pulp). Once the tooth is injured, cracked, or decayed, it is necessary to open the tooth and clean out the infected tissue in the centre. This space is then filled and the opening sealed. During the procedure the area around the tooth is frozen. Sometimes difficulties may be encountered during or after root canal treatment. This may require the use of medication or involve further treatment. A crown or cap may be necessary to protect the tooth, once the root canal treatment has been completed.

Teeth that have had root canal treatment can stay as healthy and last as long as other teeth. In most instances, you won't be able to feel or see a difference.

Refer the general dentistry section of this site for a detailed explanation.

What is a Crown/Cap?

A crown or cap is a cover that fits over a properly prepared tooth that has been damaged by decay or accident, or is badly stained or shaped.

A crown can be made of acrylic, metal, porcelain, porcelain and metal, or resined metal. All-porcelain crowns look more like your natural teeth, and therefore are usually used for front teeth; while porcelain with metal underlay has more strength and is good for crowns in the back of the mouth. Sometimes all-metal crowns are used for back teeth because of the metal's strength.

HERE'S HOW IT'S DONE: In order to prepare your tooth for a crown, you require a local anaesthetic. Then the tooth is filed down so the cap can fit over it. An impression of your teeth and gums is made and a temporary cap is fitted over the tooth until the permanent crown is made. On your next visit, the dentist will remove the temporary cap and cement the crown onto the tooth. The crown will closely match your natural teeth and give you back your smile.

What Are Dentures?

Dentures are a set of replacement teeth for any teeth that are missing. There are partial dentures, which take the place of only a few teeth and prevent the others from changing position, and complete dentures, which replace every tooth in the mouth. Both types of dentures are removable and usually made of metal and acrylic resin (say: ah-kri-lick reh-zen), a plastic-like material that is molded to fit the exact shape of a person's mouth. Dentures are held in place with the help of a sticky cream that helps the dentures stick to the surface of a person's gums.

Although they may sound uncomfortable to wear and aren't always fun to look at (especially if someone takes out his dentures in front of you), dentures are important for older folks who have lost their teeth. They help a person chew, talk, and even smile! Because they are custom-made by dentists from molds of a person's mouth (much like a retainer), each set of dentures is as unique as the person who wears them. No buying them off the shelf at the denture store!

If you know someone with dentures, don't make fun of the dentures or act grossed out. After all, you know plenty of kids with braces and retainers, right? Dentures aren't all that different. For the person wearing them, they may take some getting used to at first. If you've had braces, you may remember how it took a while to get used to having a mouth full of metal. Your mouth may have felt sore, you may have had more saliva (spit), and it may have hurt to talk for a few days. It's the same with dentures. Like braces or retainers, they also need special care - they need to be brushed daily with a special denture brush and cleanser or toothpaste and soaked in denture solution when not in the mouth.

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