Articles on dental caries

Are Tooth Fillings Forever?

Dr. N Srinivas, Dentist
Once you have the smile you always wanted,it's important to take care of it so it stays healthy and beautiful.The effects of most cosmetic dental treatments won't last forever,but you can make them last much longer by following the tips.Also, remember that a great smile is only the first step toward a whole new you.If you've been unhappy with your smile,you may not have taken the time to address other aspects of your appearance that could be improved.A new smile often brings the confidence and desire to make the most of what you've got.In addition,you may notice other things you want to change that you didn't see before because you were so distracted by flaws in your smile.A few small adjustments can make in your appearance,confidence and outlook on life.BREAK THOSE BAD HABITS!  If bad habits ruined your smile in the first place,they'll spoil your beautiful new smile as well if you don't break them. For example,smoking and drinking excessive amounts of coffee and tea will stain your restorations or newly bleached teeth.Grinding your restored teeth and chewing on or holding hard objects between them can cause wear, gaps,and chips or fractures that may stain.Be sure to discuss all past and present habits with your dentist,and remember,if you want your new smile to last long as possible,you'll need to leave your old bad habits behind.SAVE IT FOR LATER! Restorations have limited spans, and it's necessary to replace them periodically.Each time this is done,a little more tooth structure may be lost.For this reason,conservative treatment is encouraged early on,particularly young people.The best advice is to ask your dentist if your restoration could be sealed and reinforced instead of replaced.7 SIGNS YOU NEED TO REPLACE A RESTORATION1. It's discolored, and you find it esthetically unappealing.2. It has cracks or chips,and the remaining tooth structure isn't protected.3. It's no longer fitting well or is "leaking".4. It's showing signs of wear.(If too much wear occurs, filling material will no longer support the enamel)5.You're experiencing sensitivity.(The cement may have washed out or the margins may be faulty.)6. Your dentist tells you that the restoration isn't compatible with your gum tissue.7. There are microcracks adjoining the restoration.

Childhood Cavities - Early Tooth Loss

Dr. Swasti Jain, Dentist
NURSING BOTTLE CARIES is a  dental problem that develops in infants, especially infants that are put to bed with a bottle containing a sweet liquid. Baby bottle tooth decay is also called nursing-bottle caries and bottle-mouth syndrome. Bottles containing liquids such as milk, formula, fruit juices, sweetened drink mixes, and sugar water continuously bathe an infant's mouth with sugar. The bacteria in the mouth use this sugar to produce acid that destroys the child's teeth. The upper front teeth are typically the ones most severely damaged; the lower front teeth are protected to some degree by the tongue. Pacifiers dipped in sugar, honey, corn syrup, or other sweetened liquids also contribute to baby bottle tooth decay. The first signs of damage are chalky white spots or lines across the teeth. As decay progresses, the damage to the child's teeth becomes more obvious.Damage caused by baby bottle tooth decay is often not diagnosed until the child has a severe problem, because many parents do not schedule regular dental exams for their small children. It is recommended that a child's first trip to the dentist be before one year of age and that trips to the dentist occur regularly every six months after that.In cases of baby bottle tooth decay, the dentist must assess the extent of the damage before deciding on the treatment method. If the problem is caught early, the teeth involved can be treated with fluoride, followed by changes in the infant's feeding habits and better oral hygiene . Primary teeth with obvious decay in the enamel that has not yet progressed to the pulp need to be protected with stainless steel crowns. Fillings are not usually an option in small children because of the small size of their teeth and the concern of recurrent decay. When the decay has advanced to the pulp, pulling the tooth is often the treatment of choice.

Understanding Dental Caries

Dr. Ashwani Sehgal, Dentist
Dental caries is an irreversible microbial disease of the calcified tissue of the teeth, characterized by demineralization of organic substance of the tooth,which often leads to cavitation—Dental caries  is a multifactorial disease with interaction among three factors, the tooth, the microflora (bacteria present in mouth) and the  diet.Venn Diagram illustrating role of tooth(host), Substrate (Diet) And Microflora (Bacteria present in mouth) in causing Dental CariesBasically Cause of caries can be understood as:Bacteria already present in mouth feeds on ferment-able or sugar rich food that we eat.With The action of bacteria, that food is fermented into acidsThis acid then over the time leads to erosion or wearing away of teeth.This causes cavities.Flow Chart to explain caries progressionPictorial representation of carious progressionStages of Caries/cavity progression:Signs/SymptomsIn Early Stages there is absolutely no symptoms, you will just see some discoloration of chewing surface of your teeth.Once the caries Reaches dentin, One will experience sensitivity to cold .Once Caries progresses Deep into Dentin, One will start experiencing mild ocassional pain and extreme sensitivity.In last stage, when it involves pulp, one will experience severe pain, specialy on lying down, and will also experience sensitivity to hot (which was previously absent)Treatment of Dental Caries/Cavities:Stage I,II : Well sealed Restoration (Filling) after removing the decayed portion.Stage III (Deep dentin): Well Sealed restoration (filling) with a calcium hydroxide or MTA base beneath it.Stage IV (PULP): Endodontic treatment/Root Canal Treatment. How to Prevent Dental Caries/CavitiesMake sure to Brush twice a day.Make sure to clean between the teeth with the help of floss once a day.Rinse your Mouth after every meal.Do not food that tends to stick to teeth.Visit Your Dentist for a regular check up every 6 months.

Everything About Sweets and Tooth Decay

Dr. Swasti Jain, Dentist
You've probably heard it all your life: Eating sweets will rot your teeth. But while a diet high in sugar certainly promotes the formation of cavities (as well as other medical problems, such as obesity), sugar itself isn't the real culprit behind tooth decay.Dental cavities — also known as caries, the Latin word for "decay" — are formed when bacteria living in the mouth digest carbohydrate debris left on the teeth after you eat. Such debris might include the refined sugars found in cookies, candy and other treats, but can also come from healthy foods like whole grains, vegetables and fruits.When digesting these carbohydrates, bacteria in your mouth produce an acid that combines with saliva to form that nasty stuff your dentist warned you about: plaque.It's plaque — not sugar — that leads to tooth decay. Plaque starts building up after every meal, and if it isn't brushed away frequently, it can erode the hard, outer enamel of a tooth, resulting in tiny holes in the tooth's surface. These holes mark the first stage of cavity formation.And those tiny holes can do a lot of damage if left untreated. Eventually, the acid and bacteria in plaque can eat through the other layers of your teeth, as well — from the softer layer of teeth under the enamel, known as dentin, to the third layer (the pulp), which contains your teeth's blood vessels and nerves. Cavities affecting the pulp of a tooth, as well as the bone supporting tooth, can cause severe toothaches, sensitivity, pain when eating and abscesses in the mouth.Ultimately, sugar is just one of many carbs that can land you in the dentist's chair, but that doesn't mean you should trade in your apples for candy corn just yet. The way you consume food is just as important as the kinds of food you eat. For example, chugging a can of soda actually does less damage to your teeth than sipping on a soda throughout the day, because the acid created by mouth bacteria sticks around for 30 minutes after you eat or drink. So every time you munch another chip or take a sip of soda, you restart the plaque-production clock and increase your risk of developing cavities.

Dental Fear And You!

Dr. Saif Sayed, Dentist
A routine evening for iSmyle Dental Centre at Kalyani Nagar would be a list of scheduled appointments every hour. There would be patients with their friend or relative sitting in our reception area, ready for their dental treatment to begin.Today was different. At around 5 o’clock in the evening, our receptionist came in and informed us, “Our 6 pm patient has already arrived and looks very worried. He is simply walking around in the reception area and is looking at the wall clock every now and then. He even requested to make the reception area’s air conditioner cooler to make him feel better. Our other patients  looked  at him puzzled and concerned .”Our appointment list shows that this patient, Mr. Rajeev Patil (named changed to protect identity) has an appointment for his wisdom tooth removal. The treatment, which has not even started, was already making him feel uneasy, sweaty and restless.In simple words, Rajeev had dento-phobia, which is fear of dental treatment. Rajeev’s behavior is not unusual or unique. Today more than 75% of our population fear dental treatment, and out of these, 5% have such extreme fear that they avoid dental treatment at all costs, causing complications such as swelling, severe infection and extreme tooth pain.In today’s article, we have mentioned the reason behind Rajeev’s fear for dental treatment, how we made things better for him, how we eventually removed his tooth and calmed him down; thus  we will throw light on dental fear, the reason why most of us avoid going to the dentist, and how each one of us can overcome such a fear.   Reason no. 1(given by Rajeev): “My uncle had a bad dental experience.”A many of us fear dentists and dental treatment because our best friend, spouse, uncle or aunt had a swelling and a lot of pain after a root canal treatment.  We should know the fact that every tooth is different, and infection in different people have different results, not to forget the fact that different people have different reactions to pain. So, if your friend or relative had pain or swelling with their tooth, you may not experience anything and will be fit and fine the next day!Reason no. 2: “Fear of the needle prick.”The most common reason for dental treatment in people is the fact that needles will be inserted inside the mouth and the prick will hurt. This was Rajeev’s main fear. and it took no more than ten minutes for us to make him feel comfortable and give him the dental injection. How did we do this?We simply gave him the Injection Delivery system in his hand to feel it. This made him feel better because he was no longer seeing an unknown object enter his mouth. We also assured him that he will definitely not feel the prick of our injection. We applied an anesthetic gel on his gums to make it numb which made sure that he would not feel like the prick at all! This was followed by our ‘Controlled Local Anesthesia Delivery system’ which ensures the injection is slowly and smoothly administered. We lived up to Rajeev’s expectation of a Painless Injection treatment and this made him instantly relax in our dental chair.Reason 3: “Fear of the unknown”Another fear Rajeev had in his mind was that he did not know what was going on in his mouth. This is surprisingly a very common reason for fear amongst many of us. If we have a bruise/cut on our hand, we see it and we know how the bandage is put over it. This is not the case in our mouth. If we don’t know whether there is a cavity in our mouth and how it is being treated by the dentist, we would naturally fear it.It is important for your dentist to inform you about every dental treatment that you require. This can be through various means. We made it a point to show Rajeev an animated video of the wisdom tooth removal, which gave him a better understanding of the procedure. Apart from this, we clicked pictures of his wisdom tooth with our Intra oral Camera. This showed him exactly where the problem area was, and how damaged his tooth was. Hence, it is important to be completely aware of the situation inside your mouth.The above are major reasons why people avoid visiting to the dentist. Below are some other reasons that might be troubling you:1. Fear of cost: Many people feel that they are being overcharged for a particular dental treatment or been handed with an exorbitant bill after their dental treatment.You must make sure that everything regarding the dental treatment including the costs is thoroughly discussed and sorted out with your dental care provider.2. Gag: are you scared of the gag feeling when you undergo a treatment of a back tooth? is yes, then don’t be! Thanks to the advanced dental materials and techniques, this problem can well be taken care of!3. Some people have had painful encounters with the dental “drill” because they weren't properly numbed (or perhaps not numbed at all). Not surprisingly, if this has happened you are likely to feel terrified of the “drill”.With this article, we only wanted to tell you that you are NOT alone when it comes to fearing dental treatments. We all have fear of something. Overcoming it is what makes you a stronger and a better person mentally and physically!As for Rajeev, he came back with his uncle, assuring him that his tooth won’t hurt and the previous experience was just a bad one. 

You Might Be More Prone to Dental Cavities!

Dr. Ratnika Agarwal, Dentist
You brush daily and don't snack on sugary treats, yet you've had your fair share of cavities. Your friend, on the other hand don't follow dental hygiene and lives on energy drinks and junk food, yet rarely has a cavity. What could be the reason?Cavities, which result from a disease process called dental caries, are areas of decay caused by certain oral bacteria. As the decay progresses, the bacteria can eventually invade the living portion of the tooth (dentin and pulp) and is considered a bacterial infection. At that point professional dental treatment is required to remove the infection, stop the disease process and seal the tooth.This disease process requires certain combinations of conditions in order to progress. So it's likely that you have more of those conditions, or risk factors, than your friend does. Don't beat yourself up; while there are lots of things you can do to minimize risks, there are also factors that aren't so easily controlled.Tooth Decay Risk FactorsLet's take a look at those risk factors:Oral Bacteria — Cavities start with bacteria that build up on tooth surfaces in a sticky film called plaque where they feed on sugars and carbohydrates from the foods/beverages we consume, creating acids in the process. Acids dissolve the mineral bonds in the protective layer of tooth enamel, which makes it easier for bacteria to penetrate what is otherwise the hardest substance in the human body and infect the tooth. Your unique oral "microbiome" make-up could have more or less of the microbe species implicated in dental caries, and some strains of the same bugs are more aggressive than others.Dental hygiene — Brushing and flossing correctly and regularly helps dislodge bacterial plaque and trapped food particles. Regular checkups and professional cleanings are also important to remove plaque that has hardened into "tartar."Diet — Minimizing your intake of sugary foods and carbohydrates reduces the availability of fuel for cavity-causing bacteria. Meanwhile, acidic foods and beverages can erode enamel, and the more frequently they are consumed, the less opportunity saliva has to restore the mouth to its normal pH.Dry mouth — Saliva contains minerals that help neutralize acids and rebuild tooth enamel. Without a healthy flow, your ability to prevent decay is compromised. Certain medications, chemotherapy and some diseases can cause dry mouth. Drinking lots of water and using enamel-fortifying mouth rinses can help counter the effects.Tooth shape — Tooth decay is most likely to develop in back teeth — molars and bicuspids (premolars) — where the tiny fissures on their biting surface tend to trap food and bacteria. Genetics determines how deep your fissures are.Gum recession — Receding gums expose the tooth root, which isn't protected by enamel and therefore more susceptible to decay.Other factors — Gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) and vomiting can create highly acidic conditions in the mouth. Retainers, orthodontic appliances and bite or night guards tend to restrict saliva flow over teeth, promoting plaque formation; fixed appliances like braces can make it more difficult to brush and floss effectively.

Child Dental Care

Dr. R. Rajkumar, Dentist
DENTAL TREATMENT FOR KIDSDentistry for Children: Paediatric dentistry is a very gentle method of dental treatment of children which aims to make a visit to the dentist a more comfortable experience for your children. We have purpose built area specifically designed to make your children feel relaxed and at ease. The Children's Dental Centre is dedicated to encouraging as many children as we can reach, to adopt good habits in dental hygiene.To this end, we offer reduced fee dental services to underprivileged children. Although the centre would like to offer its services as broadly as possible, it is necessary to establish eligibility guidelines pertaining to prospective patients.Children's Teeth Children's teeth begin forming before they are even born. The first primary, or baby teeth, to erupt through the gums are the lower central incisors. These are followed closely by the upper central incisors which come through around four months after birth. Although all twenty primary teeth have usually appeared by the time the child reaches three years old, the pace and order of eruption varies from child to child.Oral care should begin soon after birth. Gums should be cleaned after each feeding. You should begin brushing your child's teeth as soon as they appear.Pit and Fissure Sealings for Teeth of Children At the age of six years, permanent molar erupts in children. The deep grooves are prone to caries. In case of children, this grooves can be sealed in order to prevent decay. This is called pit and fissure sealings treatment for children.Dental Care for ChildrenYou should always clean your infant's gums after feeding. Gums should be wiped with a clean, damp cloth or gauze pad. Parents should brush children's teeth daily with a soft wet toothbrush and a pea sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. When children are very young it is necessary to supervise their brushing to ensure proper brushing habits are adopted. Your dentist will probably recommend regular fluoride treatments which will strengthen enamel and help your child’s teeth resist decay. To prevent your child suffering from nursing bottle mouth, you must give your baby a bottle at nap or bed time. Fill the bottle with plain water and not milk, formula or juice.ROOT CANAL TREATMENT OF MILK TOOTHIs Root Canal Treatment of Milk Tooth necessary?There was a time when countless milk teeth were extracted stating that they are just "temporary tooth" or "milk teeth know ,anyhow it is going to fall" and for so many other reasons. But the milk teeth are there for a specific purpose. Each and every milk teeth has to stay for a particular period of time. The change in dietary habits have resulted in a lot of milk teeth getting decayed at an earlier stage than before. These milk teeth have to be preserved whenever possible. They are the natural SPACE MAINTAINERS which are there to preserve the space for permanent teeth. Whenever a milk tooth is decayed badly, where a normal filling cannot be placed root canal treatment has to be considered before removal of tooth is considered.How many sittings it will require to perform root canal treatment for a milk tooth?It can be performed in single as well as multiple sittings. The pediatric dentist will decide the best method depending upon the situation.Is the procedure painful?No, it is not painful. If necessary the pediatric dentist can anesthetize the tooth and carry out the procedure.After root canal treatment will the milk tooth will fall on its own?Yes, after root canal treatment the tooth is almost like a natural tooth. It will fall on its own.After root canal treatment is follow up necessary?Yes, after root canal treatment the tooth has to be monitored at least once in every six months.Is there any way to prevent this?Yes, and the only way is to detect tooth decay early and treat it. If we detect tooth decay early we can save the tooth by a normal filling. It is better not to wait until pain develops, because once pain develops then preserving the tooth needs extensive treatment like root canal treatment. Hence it is always better to start the FIRST DENTAL VISIT when the first milk tooth erupts into the mouth (between 8-12 months of age). If the first dental visit has taken place at this stage one can completely prevent tooth decay if the parents strictly follow the pediatric dentists instructions.

Black Spots on Your Pearly Whites? You Could Have Dental Caries

Dr. Deepesh Mathur, Dentist
Are you having difficulty chewing your food? Are your teeth becoming sensitive to hot or cold food?  If you have your head nodding, then you most probably are suffering from Dental Caries, commonly known as Tooth Decay.Dental caries are erosions caused by bacteria, acids, plaque and tartar, and are common in both children and adults. When a cavity is small you might not experience any symptoms, however, as the hole gets bigger,you will experience tooth pain and sensitive teeth; develop holes or pits with stains in your teeth and feel a sharp pain when you bite or chew anything hard.Causes of dental cariesThe causes of dental caries can be anything from poor hygiene to a serious medical condition. Here are some common causes of dental caries in older folks.1. Food habits: Eating certain kind of food like chocolate, sweet, ice cream and chips, can lead to dental caries. These foods tend to get stuck in the teeth, which causes the teeth to decay and cause cavity.2. Poor hygiene: Poor hygiene and lack of flossing can lead to dental caries. It is important to brush at least twice a day and rinse your mouth as many times as possible.3. Smoking and drinking: People who drink and smoke regularly develop dental caries. Tobacco is known to interfere with saliva production and alcohol harms the teeth leading to decay.4. Dry mouth: Taking certain medicines can cause dry mouth, which can trigger dental problems. If there is low level of saliva production, it can cause dental caries.Diagnosis and treatment of dental cariesDental caries are diagnosed with the help of dental x-rays, Visual and tactile inspection along with radiographs. Early caries can be detected by blowing air on the surface of the tooth, this dries out the surface that will help the doctor inspect the tooth closely.The treatment of dental caries depends on the severity of the problem. If the problem is detected in early stages, then your dentist might treat the tooth with a fluoride varnish application. If the decay has damaged the enamel of the tooth then filling, crowns and root canal treatment will be advised in order to save the tooth.Dental caries can be prevented with good oral hygiene, which includes brushing, flossing and rinsing the mouth. Regular visits to the dentist should be scheduled every 6 months especially if you are over the age of 50, since your teeth are old and overused.

10 Common Dental Misconceptions

Dr. Abdul Rashid, Dentist
Here are ten misconceptions you probably had or still have at one point or another. It's high time that you clear things up and make amends with your dentist.MYTH #1: Whiter teeth means healthy teeth.FACT: The shade or color of your teeth doesn't necessarily correlate to how healthy they are. Few factors that dentists base the condition of your teeth are presence of cavities, gum health, and jaw bone health, Though a whiter and brighter smile can give you a boost of self-confidence, ensuring you have a healthy set of teeth should be at the top of your list.MYTH #2: Bleeding gums is normal. It happens to everyone!FACT: Bleeding gums is a sign of gum disease, which means there's nothing normal about it. It only means that you haven't visited your dentist for quite sometime now and that a lot calculus (hard deposits stuck on your teeth) have already accumulated, making your gums swell and bleed. Gum disease if left untreated may cause the loss of your teeth.MYTH #3: Braces are for kids and teenagers.FACT: Correcting alignment and problems in the bite at an early age is indeed the best time. But that doesn't mean that adults have no hope in achieving a well-aligned teeth as well. There are several options today that can help you achieve straighter teeth aside from traditional metal braces, all of which you can consult with your dentist.MYTH #4: I brush properly, I don't need to floss.FACT: Wrong. Brushing cleans only 65% of your teeth. What about the other 35%? These are the surfaces in between your teeth which the toothbrush cannot reach (even if you use ultra-thin bristles). Only a dental floss can remove food debris stuck in those areas. Neglecting to floss (which you should do at least every night) may lead to cavities you won't even notice because...yes, you guessed it right..they are formed in between your teeth and can be detected only by dental x-rays.MYTH #5: It's just baby teeth..it will be replaced anyway. No need for my kid to see the dentist.FACT: Baby teeth are as important as permanent teeth. A lot of parents are misinformed about this. Imagine your child experiencing severe toothache just because you haven't brought him/her to the dentist before. Cavities on baby teeth should be filled and restored before they lead to toothache or infection. They also play a big role in guiding the erupting permanent teeth to the right position. If a baby tooth is removed too early (might be due to severe decay), the space for the erupting permanent tooth is usually lost resulting in misalignment. MYTH #6: Dentist = PainFACT: So many people are afraid of the dentist. Dental phobia is a common reason why patients don't go for their appointments. They always associate the dentist as to someone who inflicts pain...a lot of it. Well, this is not true. Most routine dental procedures such as scaling, polishing, and tooth fillings can be done without anesthesia. Though some might experience some sensitivity and discomfort, these procedures are often well-tolerated.MYTH #7: Well-aligned teeth has only an aesthetic value.FACT: A beautiful smile can boost a person's confidence at any stage in his/her life. But, having straight teeth also means an easier-to-maintain good oral hygiene which is a habit we all want to develop at an early age. When there's crowding of the teeth, some surfaces (the overlapping parts) are not brushed properly, eventually leading to gum disease and/or tooth decay. In addition, correction of a bad bite produces an even distribution of biting forces on all the teeth, reducing the risk of trauma to the jaw joints as compared to someone whose teeth do not occlude properly or do not touch at all (open bite). Getting an orthodontic assessment from your dentist will determine if you have a malocclusion that needs correcting.                                                                        Example of an unhealthy biteMYTH #8: Dental scaling will abrade my teeth.FACT: Everything done in excess is bad for you. Dental scaling and polishing if done at the right intervals will not do any damage to your teeth. This interval is usually 6 months apart, unless otherwise recommended by your dentist or hygienist. Patients who are prone to gum disease may need to see their dental health practitioner every 3-4 months.MYTH #9: It's alright to wear my dentures 24/7.FACT: Removing your dentures before going to bed at night is recommended. This let's your gums breathe from the constant pressure of the dentures. It also gives you the opportunity to care for your dentures by soaking them in a denture cleaning solution. Dentures if left unclean might become home to a lot of bacteria causing sores and irritation to the gums and palate.MYTH #10: Dental treatments cost a fortune. FACT: The only reason you will have to spend so much on a dental treatment is because you didn't take care of your teeth as much as you should have. As the old saying goes, "Prevention is better than cure". Neglect, or rather, the result of neglect is always costlier than the routine dental appointments that pops up in your calendar twice a year.