Dental and Oral Diseases

Dental Decay

Plaque Defined:
  1. Main cause of tooth decay
  2. Bacteria containing colorless film
  3. Adheres to your teeth
  4. Bacteria combines with sugar/carbohydrates to erode tooth enamel.
  5. The longevity of dental restorations, such as fillings, crowns, and bridges, is compromised by plaque.
Causes of decay:
Three factors must be present (decay will not happen without all three):
  • Host (your tooth)
  • Sugar: Found in soda, dried fruit, juice, candy, coffee creamers and other foods is easily digested by decay causing bacteria.
  • Bacteria (plaque)
Effects on teeth:
  • Decay can be shallow or deep.
  • Deep decay is more often associated with tooth pain and requires more costly treatment.
  • Plaque destroys the inner surfaces and root surfaces faster than the outer surfaces (enamel) of teeth.


Gingivitis Defined:
  1. "Gum Disease"
  2. Inflammation of soft tissues surrounding the teeth
Signs and Symptoms:
  • Redness
  • Puffy
  • Bleeds upon flossing and during probing at examination
  • Pain or discomfort when flossing and during probing at examinations
    • Caused by plaque accumulation
    • Contributes to bad breath
    • Preceding condition to periodontitis (bone loss around teeth)
    • Bone loss not present or limited to less than 1 mm
    • Gingivitis is associated with pregnancy due hormonal changes that promote plaque production.
    • Gingivitis is reversible with good oral hygiene at home and routine care at the dental office.


Periodontitis Defined:
  1. Periodontal disease is commonly called " advanced gum disease"
  2. However, more than gums are affected
Hallmark clinical findings:
  • Erosion of bone that supports the teeth visible in X-rays
  • "Pockets" around the teeth measuring 4 or more mm

This condition can be arrested, suspended with diligent care. This is NOT a reversible condition.

Classification (Types):
  • Mild
    • Pocket depth: 4-5mm
    • Bone loss: 1-2mm
  • Moderate
    • Pocket depth: 5-7mm
    • Bone loss: 3-4mm
  • Severe
    • Pocket depth: usually greater than 7mm
    • Bone loss: greater than 4mm


Halitosis Defined: Unpleasant odor of breath

Localized Factors:
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Extensive decay
  • Gingivitis
  • Periodontitis
  • Ulceration of gums
  • Sinusitis, rhinitis, tonsillitis, pharyngitis
  • Food and drink: garlic, cabbage, brussel sprouts, onion, coffee, alcohol, radishes, diets with excessive meat and fewer vegetables.
  • Smoking
  • Numerous other contributors
Systemic Factors:
  • Diabetes
  • Liver failure
  • Rheumatic Fever
  • Lung ailments
  • Kidney failure
  • Numerous other diseases
  • Regular meals/balanced diet
  • Brushing after meals
  • Flossing
  • Regular visits to dentists
  • Avoid odorous foods and spices
  • Avoid habits that worsen breath (smoking, alcohol, etc.)
  • Clean tongue before going to bed
  • Do not sleep with denture or partial denture
  • Keep denture, partial denture, or other removable appliances clean

Abscessed Tooth

Abscessed tooth defined: 1Infection of bone and tooth supporting ligaments.2Usually resulting from infection that originated within the tooth.

Symptoms may include:
  • Localized swelling
  • Pain
  • Pus or a bump on the gum
    • Occurs often
    • Might drain producing foul odor and taste

Requires immediate evaluation

The Untreated Abscess:
  • Abscess will spread and erode surrounding bone, gum
  • Swelling can spread to involve entire cheek and neck
  • Can lead and dire consequences requiring emergency care at hospital
  • Tooth sensitivity
Common Causes:
  • Decay
  • Cracked teeth
  • Tooth grinding and clenching
  • Worn fillings and enamel
  • Gums that have pulled away (recession)

Prevention via good oral hygiene and regular visits to dentist.


Factors that increase sensitivity:

  • Tobacco use
  • Hormonal changes to puberty, pregnancy, or menopause
  • Brushing too hard
  • Toothpaste for sensitive teeth
  • In-office fluoride treatment
  • Desensitizing agents
  • Fillings, crowns, root canals
  • Gingival grafts where recession has occurred.


Fluorosis is caused by an over exposure to fluoride. For example, children consuming/swallowing toothpaste or other fluoride containing products during regular hygiene maintenance. Or well water with greater than optimal concentrations can also be another factor of fluorosis.

Prevention on teeth:
  • Irreversible staining of teeth
  • May appear chalky white or brown

Consumption of unsafe levels may require immediate medical attention.

Fluoride safety (Link)

Dry Mouth

Xerostomia (ZEE-row-stow-mee-uh) is the clinical term for dry mouth.

Functions of Saliva:
  • Contains proteins which protect the oral cavity
  • Lubricates food for swallowing
  • Enables taste of your favorite foods
  • Starts the digestive process
  • Prevents decay
  • Eases speaking and swallowing
  • Maintains your upper digestive system
Impacts Oral Health:
  • Leads to plaque retention and dental decay
  • Pain and/or burning sensation
  • Poor taste, intolerance to spices or flavors
  • Oral Infections
  • Inflamed, red gums
  • Cracks at corner of mouth
  • Bad breath
  • Thick saliva
  • Cheek biting
Common Contributing Factors:
  • Medications
  • Mouth breathing
  • Smoking
  • Pregnancy
  • Aging
  • Menopause
  • Caffeine
There are several medical conditions which are associated with dry mouth including, but not limited to the following:
  • Diabetes
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Thyroid disease
  • Sjogren's syndrome
  • Lichen Planus
  • Fibromyalgia

Oral Cancer

Primary Risk Factors:
  1. Tobacco Use
  2. Alcohol consumption
  3. 74% of oral cancers are associated with combined used of tobacco and alcohol
  • Do not use tobacco
  • Do not abuse alcohol
  • Regular consumption of fruits and vegetables
  • Regular dental visits for examinations
Early Detection:
  1. Essential to survival rate
  2. Early stage survival: 80%
  3. Late stage survival: 40%
  4. On average the 5-year survival rate for oral cancer is 52%
  • Varies widely
  • Can occur on lip, cheek, tongue, floor of mouth, gums, hard palate, and soft palate
  • Color can be white or red
  • Might appear ulcerated or raised


Arive Family Dental

4019 Columbus Ave.

Anderson, IN 46013


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