Three Things to Consider To Keep Your Teeth for a Lifetime


Oral Health Problems

There are basically three things contributing to most of the problems we have with our oral health. The first is tooth decay caused by bacteria. Our mouths contain both good and bad bacteria and if our teeth are not kept clean the bad bacteria increase and can cause dental caries or tooth decay. The second thing is periodontal disease. Here again, as the bad bacteria increase they create biofilms that degrade the health of the supporting structures of the teeth, which are the bone and gum tissue. The third thing is occlusal disease. Occlusal disease refers to the destructive bite forces when the teeth don't fit together properly. This is the one most often overlooked. It all has to do with how the forces are directed when the teeth function. Misdirected forces can cause destructive problems with the jaw joints, joint noise, muscle pain, headaches, tooth sensitivity and nerve problems, bone loss, recession (getting long in the tooth), tooth wear, chipping and fractures of teeth or dental work, tooth movement, opening of contacts and packing food, and relapse of orthodontic treatment.

One of the questions I am often asked as a dentist is “What do I have to do to keep my teeth the rest of my life?”. I find many people fall into a trap where they have a problem and go to a dentist for treatment and then later have more problems or recurrent problems. They deal with each one over time, putting out one fire after another fixing individual teeth. How does one break out of this cycle and maintain good long-term oral health?

The answer lies in investigating the above three things in detail to see how to manage them. This is accomplished with a comprehensive exam. This will record the information needed to look at all the aspects of one's general and oral health. This would include evaluating the smile or esthetics, how the teeth function and move across each other in relation to the jaw joints and muscles, the health of their bone and gums, and the health and status of each tooth in their mouth and how it relates to the other findings. Radiographs and digital pictures of the teeth would also be needed and in some cases, diagnostic models of the teeth might be necessary. This evaluation generally takes about and hour and a half to accomplish. All the information is studied and later reviewed with the patient allowing time to educate and answer their questions.

With this approach, a pathway can be paved for a unique customized plan for each person so they can choose how healthy they want to be, to have excellent long-term oral health with a minimum of problems ensuring a beautiful smile, function and comfort for a lifetime.

Lewis L. Brown, D.D.S., P.A 3580 Piedmont Rd., N.E., Suite 113 Atlanta,GA 30305 (404-266-0111)

Contact us today to schedule an appointment or to learn more about preventative dentistry.

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