General Dentistry

Treatment for Gum Disease in Beaver Dam

Gum disease (also called periodontal disease) is an infection of the tissues that support your teeth. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Because gum disease is usually painless, you may not know you have it. At each regular checkup, the dentist will measure the depth of the shallow V-shaped crevice (called a sulcus) between your tooth and gums to identify whether you have gum disease.

Gum disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth. These bacteria create toxins that can damage the gums.

Periodontal diseases attack just below the gumline in the sulcus, where they cause the attachment of the tooth and supporting tissues to break down. As the tissues are damaged, the sulcus develops into a pocket; generally, the more severe the disease, the greater the depth of the pocket.

Periodontal diseases are classified according to the severity of the disease. The two major stages are gingivitis and periodontitis.

Dr. Eaton uses the state of the art PerioLase to treat gum disease in the Beaver Dam office.

Gingivitis
In the early stage of gum disease, called gingivitis, the gums become red and swollen, and they bleed easily. At this stage, the disease is still reversible and can usually be eliminated by daily brushing and flossing.

Periodontitis
In the more advanced stages of gum disease, called periodontitis, the gums and bone that support the teeth become seriously damaged. Whereas healthy gums and bone anchor teeth firmly in place, infected gums can cause teeth to become loose, fall out, or have to be removed by a dentist.

Some factors increase the risk of developing periodontal disease:

  • Tobacco smoking or chewing
  • System-wide diseases such as diabetes
  • Some types of medication such as steroids, some types of anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, some calcium channel blockers, and oral contraceptives
  • Bridges that no longer fit properly
  • Crooked teeth
  • Fillings that have become defective
  • Pregnancy

If you notice any of the following signs of gum disease, see the doctor immediately:

  • Gums that bleed easily
  • Red, swollen, tender gums
  • Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
  • Persistent bad breath or bad taste
  • Pus between your teeth and gums
  • Permanent teeth that are loose or separating
  • Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • Any change in the fit of partial dentures

It Is Possible to Have Periodontal Disease and Have No Warning Signs

That is one reason why regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations are very important. Treatment methods depend on the type of disease and how far the condition has progressed. Patients who have difficulty with gum disease will most likely need maintenance appointments every three months.

Good oral hygiene at home is essential to keep periodontal disease from becoming more serious or recurring. You don't have to lose teeth to periodontal disease. Brush regularly, clean between your teeth, eat a balanced diet, and schedule regular dental visits for a lifetime of healthy smiles.


Tooth Extractions in Beaver Dam

There are times when it is necessary to remove a tooth. Sometimes a baby tooth has long or misshapen roots that prevent it from falling out as it should, and the tooth must be removed to make way for the permanent tooth to erupt. At other times, a tooth may have so much decay that it puts the surrounding teeth and jaw at risk of decay, so your doctor may recommend removal and replacement with a bridge or implant. Infection, orthodontic correction, or problems with a wisdom tooth can also require removal of a tooth.

When it is determined that a tooth needs to be removed, your dentist may extract the tooth during a regular checkup or may request another visit for this procedure. The root of each tooth is encased within your jawbone in a "tooth socket," and your tooth is held in that socket by a ligament. In order to extract a tooth, your dentist must expand the socket and separate the tooth from the ligament holding it in place. While this procedure is typically very quick, it is important to share with your doctor any concerns or preferences for sedation.

Once a tooth has been removed, neighboring teeth may shift, causing problems with chewing or with your jaw joint function. To avoid these complications, your dentist may recommend that you replace the extracted tooth.


Root Canals in Beaver Dam

In the past, if you had a tooth with a diseased nerve, you'd probably lose that tooth. Today, with a special dental procedure called root canal treatment, you may save that tooth.

Inside each tooth is both the pulp and the nerve. The nerve is the vestige of the tissue that originally formed the tooth. Once the tooth has been in the mouth for a time, the functioning of the nerve is no longer necessary.

When a tooth is cracked or has a deep cavity, bacteria can enter the pulp. Germs can cause an infection inside the tooth. Left without treatment, pus builds up at the root tip in the jawbone, forming a "pus-pocket" called an abscess. An abscess can cause the pulp tissue to die. When the infected pulp is not removed, pain and swelling can result. Certain byproducts of the infection can injure your jawbones and your overall health. Without treatment, your tooth may have to be removed.

Treatment often involves from one to three visits. During treatment, your general dentist or endodontist (a dentist who specializes in problems of the pulp) removes the diseased pulp. Next, the pulp chamber and root canal(s) of the tooth are cleaned and sealed. Often, posterior teeth that have endodontic treatment should have a cast crown placed in order to strengthen the remaining structure. Then, as long as you to continue to care for your teeth and gums with regular brushing, flossing, and checkups so that the root(s) of the restored tooth are nourished by the surrounding tissues, your restored tooth can last a lifetime.


Wisdom Teeth Removal in Beaver Dam

The removal of wisdom teeth has become so commonplace that it is almost a rite of passage for young adults. Wisdom teeth are the molars found in the very back of your mouth. There are four wisdom teeth: upper left, upper right, lower left, and lower right. These teeth usually appear in the late teens or early 20s, but may become impacted (fail to erupt) due to lack of room in the jaw or angle of entry. The most common type of impacted wisdom tooth is "mesial," meaning that the tooth is angled forward toward the front of your mouth.

When a tooth is impacted, it may need to be removed. If it is not removed, you may develop gum tenderness, swelling, or even severe pain. Impacted wisdom teeth that are partially or fully erupted tend to be quite difficult to clean and are susceptible to tooth decay, recurring infections, and even gum disease.

Each patient's situation is unique, and your dentist will take X-rays and discuss your particular needs with you. If your dentist recommends removal of your wisdom teeth, it is best to have them removed sooner than later. As a general rule, wisdom teeth are removed in the late teens or early 20s because there is a greater chance that the teeth's roots have not fully formed and the bone surrounding the teeth is less dense. These two factors can make extraction easier.

In order to remove a wisdom tooth, your dentist first needs access to it. To make this process most comfortable, your dentist will numb the area with a local anesthetic. Your dentist can even use additional medication to safely sedate you during the extraction if you are feeling nervous about the procedure. Because the impacted tooth is frequently under the gums and still encased in your jaw bone, your dentist will need to remove a portion of the covering bone to extract the tooth. To minimize the amount of bone that must be removed, your dentist will often "section" your wisdom tooth so that each section can be removed through a small opening in the bone.

Once the teeth have been extracted, the healing process begins. Healing time varies depending on the degree of difficulty related to the extraction. Your dentist will share with you what to expect and provide instructions for an efficient healing.

Most of the time, a root canal is a relatively simple procedure with little or no discomfort, involving one to three visits. Best of all, it can save your tooth and your smile!


Dental Sealants in Beaver Dam

Sometimes brushing is not enough. Everyone has hard-to-reach spots in their mouth, and brushing doesn't always fully clean those difficult places. When that happens, you are at risk of tooth decay. Using sealants on your teeth gives you an extra line of defense against tooth decay.

Dental sealant is a plastic resin that bonds to the deep grooves in your tooth's chewing surface. When sealing a tooth, the grooves of your teeth are filled and the tooth surface becomes smoother and less likely to harbor plaque. With sealants, tooth brushing becomes easier and more effective against tooth decay.

Sealants are usually applied to children's teeth as a preventative measure during the years of most likely tooth decay. However, adults' teeth can also be sealed. It is more common to seal "permanent" teeth rather than "baby" teeth, but every person has unique needs. Your dentist will recommend sealants on a case-by-case basis.

Sealants generally last from three to five years. However, it is fairly common to see adults with sealants still intact from their childhood. A dental sealant only provides protection when it is fully intact, so if your sealant comes off, you must let your dentist know.


Dental Fillings in Beaver Dam

Fillings that mimic the appearance of natural teeth

Tooth replacement

What Should I Look for When Choosing a Dentist?

You may wish to consider several dentists before making your decision. During your first visit, you should be able to determine if this is the right dentist for you. Consider the following:

  • Is the appointment schedule convenient?
  • Is the office close by and easy to get to?
  • Does the office appear to be clean and orderly?
  • Was your medical and dental history recorded and placed in a permanent file?
  • Does the dentist explain techniques for good oral health?
  • Is information about cost presented to you before treatment is scheduled?
  • Is your dentist a member of the ADA (American Dental Association)?

The Importance of Preventative Care
It’s easy to forget how simple it is to take good care of our teeth. At home, a basic routine of brushing twice a day and flossing once a day can make all the difference. And with bi-annual checkups, you can better ensure your teeth will last a lifetime!

The Basics of Dental Checkups
Visiting the dentist every six months is a small sacrifice of time for big rewards. These checkups includes a cleaning and oral exam by your dentist, during which they will check various aspects of your oral health. This of course includes your teeth and gums but also includes your cheeks, tongue and mouth in general.

Caring for Healthy Teeth
If you’ve had previous dental work, the dentist will ensure those fillings or restorations are in top condition. Fillings and other work can wear away over time, chipping or cracking because of the constant pressure of chewing, grinding or clenching. Chips, cracks and other problems can further detriment your oral health, as well as the overall health of your body.

Preventing Gum Disease Periodontal disease, known to most as gum disease, is one of the leading causes of tooth loss in adults. Having a dental checkup once every six months will ensure your dentist spots any signs of trouble when it comes to your gums. Without these checkups, you likely wouldn’t even know anything was wrong as gum disease is generally painless.

If you’re seeing a dentist regularly, they can identify early stage gum disease, known as gingivitis, and start treating it immediately. Lucky for you, gingivitis is reversible! With daily brushing and flossing, you can prevent gingivitis from worsening.

Periodontitis is the advanced stage of gum disease. At this point, the infection in your gums can cause teeth to become loose, fall out or require extraction by a dentist.

Scheduling an Appointment
If it’s been too long since you last visited the dentist or if you’re simply due for a checkup, don’t hesitate to contact Eaton Dental! Serving Beaver Dam and the Dodge County area, you can count on Dr. John Eaton, DDS, S.C. and his staff to take great care of you and your teeth!

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