Our team at the office of Bruce Speake DDS PA is pleased to offer dental care resources to help patients and their families learn more about oral health and protect their smiles in between dental visits.
We encourage you to practice the following dental habits:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day in small, circular motions, angling your toothbrush to toward the area where your teeth and gums meet. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste, and brush for two minutes.
- Children younger than two years should only use a smear of toothpaste, while older children can use a pea-size amount.
- Store your toothbrush in an upright position and do not allow it to come into contact with other toothbrushes.
- Replace your toothbrush every three to four months or after contracting a cold or the flu.
- Floss daily, especially before bed.
- Swish with mouthwash for at least 30 seconds. Monitor children to ensure they do not swallow the mouthwash.
- Eat a balanced diet that is low in sugary and acidic foods, as these can contribute to tooth decay.
- Visit the dentist at least every six months, or as soon as you notice a change in your oral health, such as red and swollen gums, tooth sensitivity, loose adult teeth, gum recession, persistent bad breath, or a change in the way your teeth fit together.
Gingivitis is the beginning stage of gum disease, a gingival infection caused by overexposure to bacteria from food and plaque. Bacteria results in inflammation of the gums, and you may notice symptoms such as dark, swollen, or tender gums, bad breath, and gum recession.
If you have noticed any of these symptoms, we encourage you to contact Bruce Speake DDS PA and schedule an appointment with our team for a professional dental cleaning. Our gentle, professional team will perform a procedure called scaling and root planing that removes plaque, tartar, and bacteria and then smooths the root surfaces to discourage future plaque buildups. If you have any ill-fitting dental restorations, such as crowns and bridges, that are irritating your gums and contributing to gingivitis, our dentist may recommend that these restorations be repaired or replaced.
Following your dental cleaning, we will provide you with an at-home program to help you continue a habit of excellent oral hygiene and prevent future infection.
Untreated gingivitis can progress to full periodontal disease, which in its advanced state is known as periodontitis. Periodontitis can cause severe gum recession, loose teeth, new gaps between teeth, bad breath, changes in your bite, and painful chewing.
There are three types of periodontitis:
- Chronic periodontitis is most common in adults and is caused by plaque buildup, resulting in gum, bone, and tooth loss.
- Aggressive periodontitis is rare but can develop in children and young adults, leading to rapid bone and tooth loss.
- Necrotizing periodontal disease is the death of tum tissue, bone, and tooth ligaments. It is caused by infection that develops from a lack of blood supply to these areas. At-risk patients are those with suppressed immune systems or malnutrition.
It is important that you visit the dentist if you have noticed a change in your gum health. Periodontal disease is progressive, but early treatment can control the infection and protect your smile. Your treatment plan will depend on your individual condition. Dr. Bruce Speake may recommend a deep cleaning, antibiotic treatment, or even gum surgery to treat the disease. We will also provide you with a customized long-term treatment plan involving home care to help you keep your smile in good health.
Tooth decay is tooth damage that occurs in the surface of your teeth from prolonged exposure to bacteria. Poor dental hygiene, sugary drinks and food, and genetics can all contribute to tooth decay. While patients of all ages are susceptible to tooth decay, it is most common in children and older adults.
Symptoms of tooth decay include:
- Unexplained toothache
- Tooth sensitivity
- Pain when biting and chewing
- Sensitivity to heat or cold
- Holes or pits in the tooth surface
- Stains on the tooth surface
Dr. Bruce Speake and our team evaluate your smile during your routine dental exam to diagnose any symptoms of tooth decay, often before you even realize you have it. We encourage you to visit our office at least every six months for checkups so that we can monitor your oral health and treat tooth decay before it results in a dental infection or spreads to surrounding teeth.
You can significantly decrease your risk of tooth decay by practicing excellent dental habits and limiting your intake of sugary food and drinks. Infants and toddlers should not be put to bed with a bottle, although water is fine if they need something to help them sleep. If you have any questions about proper oral care, contact our office today.
We invite you to give us a call at 785-267-6301 if you would like to learn more about dental hygiene and care in Topeka, Kansas, and how you can promote healthy smiles in your home. We look forward to helping you care for your oral health!