Advanced Cosmetic & General Dentistry of DC – Arousha Jahangiri DDS

Understanding the Five Stages of Tooth Decay

 

  Did you know there are five distinct stages of tooth decay? And, that 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 your
children. There’s always a lot going on in that little 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 child’s molars. A dental exam, of course, is designed to catch such cavities! Can you see why regular visits to the dentist are recommended? As mentioned previously, at this stage, the cavity can be repaired without the need to excavate the tooth.

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 your child will need to have the cavity corrected with a filling.

Stage Three: Dentin Decay

If a cavity in your child’s 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, a screaming child or moaning teenager will certainly 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.

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.

 

5 Reasons Why Your Gums Might Be Bleeding

Seeing some red in the sink after brushing or flossing may raise an eyebrow or two. It may seem like your gums are bleeding for no reason. But before you venture down the rabbit hole of what-ifs, consider these common causes of gum bleeding.

Common Causes of Bleeding Gums

  • Vigorous Toothbrushing

The extra oomph you’ve put into your brushing since your most recent visit may be the first place to look. Instead of brushing with the vigor you’d use while scrubbing a stack of plates after Thanksgiving, aim for gentle and patient: place the bristles along your gums at a 45-degree angle, and gently brush two to three teeth at a time.

  • Inadequate or Forceful Flossing

Changing your flossing routine can also cause your gums to bleed. If you’ve returned to regular flossing after a little hiatus or if you’re flossing more forcefully than usual, bleeding is common. Remember to floss daily and with ease.

  • Medication Some over-the-counter medications, including aspirin, as well as prescription drugs, like blood thinners, may lead to gum bleeding. Be sure to let us know which medications you’re taking, and keep us in the loop if you and your healthcare provider change your medications.
  • Vitamin Deficiency

A deficiency in vitamins is a common factor in gum bleeding. Vitamin A helps form your teeth and protects your mouth’s membranes; vitamin C helps maintain the health of your teeth and gums; and vitamin K ensures your blood clots. If you’ve upped your hygiene game but still spot blood after brushing, try adding more vitamin-rich foods to your diet.

  • Gingivitis and Periodontitis

Gum bleeding, as well as swelling and tenderness, is a common symptom of gingivitis and periodontitis. Often due to poor oral hygiene, both gingivitis and the more-serious periodontitis do require treatment.

When It’s Time for a Visit

If you make changes to your oral health routine but the bleeding doesn’t improve within 10 days, it’s best to come in for a visit. Give us a call at 202-331-1644 or schedule your visit online www.dentistrydc.com

 

Flossing 101

Of all the things you can do to maintain a healthy mouth, flossing has got to be the least expensive! But many patients don’t take the time to floss. And if you do, you might not be doing it correctly! Welcome to Flossing 101…

Why should you floss?

Your toothbrush isn’t enough to brush away the plaque that can build up between teeth and at the gum line. A complete dental routine includes both brushing and flossing.

How often should you floss?

Once a day is ideal. Believe it or not, flossing more often (or with more rigor) can damage your gums. The only exception to once-a-day flossing is if you need to remove pieces of stringy or sticky foods that get stuck after eating. Don’t leave those in there too long.

Should you floss before or after brushing?

Either one is fine!

How should you floss?

Pull out about 18 inches of floss (any brand is fine). Wind the floss tightly around your index or middle fingers on both hands so that the floss between your hands is taut. Slide the floss between each set of teeth that touch, as well as where your last molar meets your gums. Slide the floss up and down the teeth, following the natural curve of each tooth in a “C” shape. Imagine the floss giving each tooth a little hug! Floss between teeth and where your teeth meet your gums. Use a new clean section of floss for each set of teeth.

For a helpful infographic, use this one from the American Dental Association. You can also ask your hygienist to show you how to floss at your next visit.

 

Can’t floss?

If arthritis in your hands or another condition prevents you from flossing adequately, consider a dental pick, oral irrigator, or electric Give us a call 202-331-1644 or ask about options at your next visit https://www.patientconnect365.com/Dentists/DC/Washington/20036/Advanced_Cosmetic__General_Dentistry_of_DC! We will help find a solution for you!

 

Effects of Soda on Your Teeth

Ever seen those videos where someone puts a baby tooth in a glass of soda and watches it decay?

Well, the effect of soda in an actual mouth is a bit different.

You have your saliva to help wash away the sugar, you eat other things throughout the day, and brush at least twice a day to remove debris or plaque.

Nevertheless, soda is not something we recommend you consume more often than a once-in-awhile treat. Here’s why:

Sugar

Soda has an extremely high sugar content. The bacteria that cause tooth decay feed off of sugar and excrete acid, which is what causes tooth decay. The more sugar our teeth have to interact with, the more prone to decay they will be.

Acid

Think diet soda is a better alternative? Even though it contains zero sugar, it can still contain acids such as phosphoric acid or citric acid. Acid eats away at a tooth’s enamel and leaves it prone to decay.

Colors

Caramel color, Yellow 5, etc. Any type of artificial coloring can cause tooth-staining. If you prefer your teeth sparkling white, it’s best to stay away from soda.

Instead of soda, we recommend spicing up your daily beverages with other alternatives. How about some sparkling water or plain water infused with fresh fruit?

When you do drink soda, make sure to rinse with water afterwards. And, as always, keep up with regular brushing and flossing to protect those precious teeth!

Choosing The Right Toothpaste

Our answer? Any fluoride toothpaste that will help you maintain a good oral health routine!

We know you have a million and one choices facing you in the toothpaste aisle, and it can be hard to figure out what’s best for you.

Most people, however, can use any toothpaste that has the ADA (American Dental Association) seal of approval. This seal means that the toothpaste contains fluoride, has the right amount of abrasiveness (not too little and not too much), and has been shown to be both safe and effective for intended use

If you have any sensitivity to dyes, preservatives, or certain ingredients, opt for a toothpaste that is free of those! Just make sure it has fluoride.

We can’t say it enough: fluoride is your best form of cavity prevention!

Ask us at your next visit if there’s a special kind of toothpaste that we recommend for your specific needs

How to Know if You Have a Cavity?

According to the National Institutes of Health, the most prevalent health condition after the common cold is tooth decay.

It’s more than likely that if you haven’t already had a cavity, you will develop at least one in your lifetime.

So, how do you know if you have a cavity? Well, depending on the severity of your tooth decay, you may experience a variety of symptoms. Here are some of the accompanying symptoms that go along with tooth decay.

  • Nothing (in the early stages)
  • A toothache or spontaneous tooth pain
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Pain (slight or severe) when eating something sweet, hot, or cold
  • Staining (brown, black, or white) on the surface of your tooth
  • Visible holes in your tooth. Those holes are cavities
  • Pain when biting down

The best time to catch a cavity is in the early stages, when there are few, if any, symptoms.

Keeping your twice yearly (or more) visits with us will ensure we catch them in time

We will let you know the best course of treatment for your particular situation. The recommendation could be as easy as watching and waiting to see if we find any tooth decay in the very early stages.

Or, if you are symptomatic, we may have to formulate a more in-depth treatment plan.

As always, brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, floss at least once a day, and try to minimize the amount of sugar in your diet.

These steps will help you be proactive in preventing cavities.

Even better, your teeth will thank you for it!

 

Dental Decay

Replacing sugary soda drinks with healthy drinks can noticeably improve your oral hygiene and overall health status 😊

Mesial Surface

Mesial” refers to the surface of the tooth that is toward the front of the mouth

Overall, there are five surfaces to each tooth:

Occlusal – the chewing or grinding surface of the bicuspid and molar teeth
Mesial – surface toward the front of the mouth
Distal – behind towards the back of the mouth.
Buccal – the tooth surface which is next to your cheeks.
Lingual – the tooth surface next to your tongue

Dental Sealants

The deep grooves of teeth present the an ideal environment for bacterial growth, which can gradually lead to decay. Even if you are vigilant with your dental hygiene habits, bacteria can hide in the recesses where your tooth brush is unable to adequately reach. 

Dental sealants have become a popular way of blocking tooth pits and grooves to prevent bacterial decay. If you are concerned about the possibility of decay or if you have already developed some small cavities, applying dental sealants may be an ideal solution.

Taking preventative steps now to maintain good dental health can help prevent the need for costly dental treatments and procedures later on.

Sealants are thin liquid coatings that can be applied to the top of a tooth to seal off deep grooved areas. They help to prevent bacteria or other debris from becoming trapped in pitted areas that cannot be easily cleaned. 

This type of dental procedure has become increasingly popular, and has been shown to be a safe and effective way of stopping tooth decay before it begins. 

Children are ideal candidates for sealants, because the protective layer can be applied before bacterial decay begins.

Should I Brush Before Flossing?

The age-old question – should you floss before you brush or after? If you asked any one of our
team members, you just might get a different answer on this one!
Before you report them for not knowing their stuff, each response can be right! As long as you’re
doing a thorough job, we don’t care when you floss!
The Case for Flossing Before Brushing
Theoretically, flossing first dislodges the gunk between your teeth, letting the fluoride in your
toothpaste reach those crevices better.
Also, behavioral scientists say since most people don’t like to floss, it’s better to get the
least-pleasant half of your dental routine out of the way first – you’ll be less likely to skip it. Once
you have a minty, fresh mouth from brushing, you might be less inclined to feel the need to floss
afterward.
The Case for Flossing After Brushing
Some say flossing last is better because it clears your mouth from extra food and debris that
could otherwise be carried by the floss into the very spaces you’re trying to clean out.
Plus, it might be more pleasant to put those flossing hands into a clean mouth versus an
unbrushed one.
Should I Brush Before Flossing?
Bottom Line
Floss when it works for you. But make it a habit! Choose the same time every day, floss once a
day, and floss thoroughly.
And don’t forget to use the right flossing method: for each new set of teeth, use a new section
of floss, and hug each side of the tooth by dragging the floss upward in the shape of a “C.”
Want us to show you how? Just ask!