Conquering Common Oral Diseases: Dentists' Effective Treatments

June 26, 2023

Common oral diseases affect individuals across all age groups, posing significant challenges to oral health and overall well-being. These conditions demand attention and prompt treatment, from tooth decay and gum disease to oral cancer and malocclusion. Thankfully, a family dentist in Murfreesboro, TN, offers comprehensive care for patients of all ages.

This blog will explore how common oral diseases can impact individuals across different age groups. We will also delve into the vital role of family dentistry in providing effective treatments and the importance of seeking timely intervention to prevent complications.  

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Common Oral Diseases and Dentists' Effective Treatments  

#1 Tooth Decay (Caries)

Tooth decay, or dental caries, is a prevalent oral disease caused by the interaction between bacteria in the mouth and sugars from food and drinks. Poor oral hygiene, frequent snacking, and inadequate fluoride exposure are common risk factors for tooth decay.

Symptoms may include tooth sensitivity, pain, visible pits or holes in the teeth, and dark spots.  

Dentists diagnose tooth decay through visual examination, X-rays, and probing.

Treatment options for tooth decay include:

Dental fillings: Dentists use dental fillings to restore teeth affected by decay. After removing the decayed portion, the dentist fills the cavity with materials such as composite resin, amalgam, or porcelain. Dental fillings restore the tooth's function, prevent further decay, and provide aesthetic improvements.

Dental crowns: Dental crowns are utilized when tooth decay has extensively damaged the tooth's structure. The dentist removes the decayed portion and places a customized crown over the remaining tooth. Crowns can be made of materials like porcelain, metal alloy, or a combination of both. Dental crowns restore the tooth's shape, strength, and functionality while providing long-lasting protection.

Root canal therapy: When tooth decay reaches the pulp, where the nerves and blood vessels reside, root canal therapy becomes necessary. The dentist removes the infected pulp, cleans and disinfects the root canal, and seals it with a filling material. A crown is often placed on top to strengthen the treated tooth. Root canal therapy saves the natural tooth from extraction, relieves pain, and restores oral health.

These treatment options effectively address tooth decay, preserving the tooth's integrity, function, and overall oral health. Regular dental visits and maintaining good oral hygiene practices are crucial in preventing tooth decay and the need for extensive treatments.

#2 Gum Disease (Periodontal Disease)

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a prevalent oral condition that affects the gums and supporting structures of the teeth. It encompasses two primary types: gingivitis and periodontitis.

Gingivitis is the initial stage of gum disease characterized by inflammation of the gums. It is typically caused by the buildup of plaque, a sticky film of bacteria on the teeth. Poor oral hygiene, hormonal changes, smoking, and certain systemic diseases can contribute to gingivitis.

Periodontitis is an advanced stage of gum disease that occurs when gingivitis is left untreated. It involves the progression of inflammation and infection to the deeper tissues, including the bone supporting the teeth. Plaque hardens into tartar, leading to gum recession, tooth mobility, and potential tooth loss.

Common Signs and Symptoms

  • Red, swollen gums.
  • Bleeding while brushing or flossing
  • Persistent bad breath.
  • Receding gums.
  • Changes in the bite.

Treatment Approaches

Professional dental cleaning: Dentists perform a thorough dental cleaning procedure known as scaling and root planing. This involves the removal of plaque and tartar from the tooth surfaces and below the gumline, reducing bacteria and inflammation.

Scaling and root planing: This non-surgical procedure involves deep cleaning the root surfaces and the periodontal pockets. It aims to remove bacterial buildup, smooth the root surfaces, and promote gum reattachment to prevent further infection and gum disease progression.

Periodontal surgery: In advanced cases, dentists may recommend surgical interventions. These can include flap surgery, where the gums are lifted for better access to clean the tooth roots, and bone or gum grafting procedures to repair damaged tissues and regenerate lost bone support.

By addressing gum disease through these treatment approaches, individuals can halt its progression, restore gum health, and prevent tooth loss. Regular dental check-ups, proper oral hygiene practices, and lifestyle modifications are vital in managing and preventing gum disease.  

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#3 Oral Cancer

Oral cancer refers to the abnormal growth of cells in the oral cavity, including the lips, tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth, and throat.

Risk Factors and Causes

Risk factors for oral cancer include tobacco use (cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco), excessive alcohol consumption, sun exposure to the lips, a family history of oral cancer, human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, and a weakened immune system.

Common Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of oral cancer may include:

  • Persistent mouth sores.
  • Red or white patches in the mouth.
  • Difficulty swallowing or speaking.
  • Chronic sore throat.
  • Unexplained bleeding.
  • Numbness or pain in the mouth.
  • Changes in the fit of dentures.

Importance of Early Detection

Early detection of oral cancer is crucial for successful treatment and improved outcomes. Timely identification allows for prompt intervention, potentially preventing the spread of the disease and reducing the need for more extensive treatments.

Dentists' Involvement in Screening and Diagnosis

Dentists play a vital role in the early detection of oral cancer through regular oral examinations. These examinations involve inspecting the oral cavity, including the tongue, gums, and throat, for abnormalities.

If suspicious areas are found, dentists may perform a biopsy, where a small tissue sample is taken for further analysis.

Oral examinations: Dentists examine the oral cavity for signs of oral cancer, such as lesions, ulcers, or abnormal tissue growth. This visual inspection is typically a routine part of dental check-ups.

Biopsy procedures: If suspicious areas are identified during an oral examination, dentists may perform a biopsy. The collected tissue sample is sent to a laboratory for microscopic examination, confirming the presence of cancerous cells.

Treatment for oral cancer depends on the stage and extent of the disease. Common treatment options include:

Surgery: Surgical intervention involves removing the cancerous tissue and a margin of healthy tissue. This may include removing part of the tongue, jawbone, or lymph nodes, depending on the extent of the cancer.

Radiation: Radiation therapy utilizes high-energy radiation beams to target and destroy cancer cells. It may be used before or after surgery or as the primary treatment in cases where surgery is not possible.

Chemo: Chemotherapy involves the use of powerful medications to kill cancer cells. It may be administered before or after surgery or with radiation therapy.

Early detection and a multidisciplinary approach involving dentists, oncologists, and other healthcare professionals significantly improve the chances of successful treatment and recovery for individuals with oral cancer.

Regular dental check-ups and awareness of potential risk factors are essential in maintaining oral health and detecting oral cancer at its earliest stages.

#4 Dental Abscess

A dental abscess is a painful infection that occurs within the tooth or in the surrounding gums. Understanding dental abscesses involves the following aspects:

Causes and Risk Factors

Dental abscesses typically result from bacterial infection. Common causes include severe tooth decay, cracked or fractured teeth, gum disease, and trauma to the tooth. Poor oral hygiene, a weakened immune system, and certain medical conditions can increase the risk of developing a dental abscess.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Symptoms of a dental abscess may include:

  • Severe toothache.
  • Swelling and redness in the gums or face.
  • A foul taste or odor in the mouth.
  • Fever.
  • Difficulty opening the mouth.

Dentists diagnose a dental abscess through a visual examination, X-rays, and probing of the affected area.

Dentists' Treatment Options

Drainage of the abscess: Dentists may perform an incision or root canal therapy to drain the abscess, relieving pain and eliminating the infection. This involves creating an opening to allow the pus to drain, followed by thorough cleaning and disinfection of the area.

Root canal treatment: In cases where the dental abscess has reached the tooth's pulp, root canal treatment may be necessary. The dentist removes the infected pulp, cleans and shapes the root canals, and seals them to prevent reinfection. This procedure saves the natural tooth from extraction.

Extraction of the affected tooth: If the tooth is severely damaged or if the abscess cannot be effectively treated with other options, the dentist may recommend extracting the affected tooth. The consideration of tooth replacement options like dental implants or bridges typically follows extraction.

#5 Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity refers to discomfort or pain experienced when consuming hot, cold, sweet, or acidic substances. Understanding tooth sensitivity involves the following aspects:

Causes and Triggers

Tooth sensitivity can result from exposed tooth roots due to gum recession, worn tooth enamel, tooth decay, fractured teeth, or dental procedures such as teeth whitening. Triggers can include hot or cold foods/drinks, sugary items, and acidic beverages.  

Dentists' Treatment Approaches

Desensitizing toothpaste: Dentists may recommend desensitizing toothpaste with ingredients to reduce tooth sensitivity. These kinds of toothpaste help block pain sensations and protect the exposed dentin.

Dental sealant: Dental sealants are thin coatings applied to the tooth surfaces to cover exposed dentin and protect against sensitivity. They act as a barrier between the teeth and external stimuli.

Dental bonding: Dentists may perform dental bonding or place fillings to restore the tooth's structure and alleviate sensitivity in cases where tooth decay, fractured teeth, or worn enamel cause tooth sensitivity.

Dentists provide individualized treatment plans based on the underlying causes of dental abscesses and tooth sensitivity. Professional dental care is essential for accurate diagnosis, appropriate treatment, and long-term management of these oral conditions.

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Looking for a Reliable Family Dentist in Murfreesboro, TN?

Understanding common oral diseases and the effective treatments dentists provide is crucial for maintaining optimal oral health. If you're seeking comprehensive family dental care, look no further than Stonetrace Family Dental.

Our team of experienced professionals is dedicated to providing exceptional dental services for patients of all ages. Schedule your appointment today and take a proactive step toward conquering oral health challenges.

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