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Understanding the Five Stages of Tooth Decay | January 2018

Did you know there are five distinct stages of tooth decay? And, that in the first stage of decay, you can actually take steps to reverse the progression of the disease? Indeed, it’s true. In the first stage of decay, whether you’re a child or an adult, the application of fluoride via fluoride treatments, your toothpaste and even the local water supply can stop a cavity from penetrating through the enamel and reaching its second stage. Even the saliva in your mouth and the foods you eat help to re-mineralize a tooth in jeopardy. But that’s just the first stage! What about the rest? Understanding how a cavity progresses can assist you in preventing each successive stage from occurring in your own mouth and in your child’s mouth.

 

 

Stage One: White Spots

In stage one, the tooth begins to show signs of strain from the attack of sugars and acids, and white spots will begin to materialize just below the surface of the enamel. These white spots are representative of the demineralization of the tooth and can be easy to miss because they’re likely to occur on your back molars. A dental exam, of course, is designed to catch such cavities! Can you see why regular visits to the dentist are recommended? As mentioned previously, at this stage, the cavity can be repaired without the need to excavate the tooth.  The dentist and the hygienist are trained to spot these areas and will notify and educate you about how to prevent the weak spot from progressing.

Stage Two: Enamel Decay

Stage two marks the beginning of the end for the surface enamel that is being attacked. Initially, the tooth erodes from the underside outward, so the outer enamel will still be intact for the first half of this second stage. Once the cavity breaks through the surface of the enamel, there is no turning back, and you will need to have the cavity corrected with a filling. This is why it is critical to have regular exams.  When the tooth is at this stage you still may not notice the break in enamel.  The filling will be small at this point if detected early.

Stage Three: Dentin Decay

If a cavity in your mouth were to progress beyond stage two without you knowing, you’d tend become aware of it when it started to hit stage three because it would probably start to cause some pain. At this level, the cavity begins to eat away at the second level of tooth material that lies beneath the enamel: the dentin. A filling can still be used to stop the onslaught of bacteria assaulting the tooth in order to prevent the cavity from reaching the tooth’s most critical component: the pulp.

Stage Four: Involvement of the Pulp

Once the cavity reaches the pulp, it’s going to hurt- A lot.  Or, the tooth may be so weakened, it fractures or breaks. So if you’ve unfortunately missed all the signs to this point, instead of a small filling or a reversible spot, your tooth may become an emergency situation for you. Stage four is serious, and a root canal is the only option of treatment at this stage, save for a complete extraction.  Fortunately, due to advances in dentistry, both of these procedures can be done comfortably for you, but at a much greater expense than preventive measures.

Stage Five: Abscess Formation

In the fifth and final stage of a cavity, the infection has reached the tip of the root and exited the tip of the tooth’s structure. This in turn infects the surrounding tissues and possibly the bone structure. Swelling would be commonplace and pain severe.  An abscess can be fatal if not dealt with immediately. Root canal or extraction would be the order of the day should decay reach this stage.  You need to call the office right away if this happens so you can be evaluated and most likely prescribed antibiotics.

As you can see, cavities don’t happen overnight. In the early stages, regular visits can stall and reverse the progression of these dastardly little devils, so it really does pay to visit the dentist at pre-selected intervals. You and your children can stay away from stage five their whole lives, and if a little bit of prodding to get them to the dentist accomplishes that, you can rest easy despite the griping.  And don’t think cavities are just for kids.  Older adults often end up with recurrent decay around old fillings or crowns due to inadequate oral hygiene, dry mouth due to medications, or other health factors. So remember the old adage you have often heard:  Prevention is the Best Medicine.

 

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Smile Advantage | December, 2017

The holidays are a time to reflect on our blessings, our family, and friends. As a dental office, we are thankful for our wonderful patients, many whom we consider friends over so many years. We enjoy our role as dental health care providers that allow us to help people maintain their best smiles and oral health throughout their lifetimes. We strive to do this in an atmosphere of personal care and comfort, while also offering the latest in dental technology. 

In an age where health care is becoming so impersonal and assembly line like with the huge corporation owned clinics, we are pleased to offer you another choice where your concerns are listened to; your treatment is scheduled and planned according to your needs, and you are explained and educated about your treatment options. 

 Your concerns about the costs of dental care have also been listened to. We are now pleased to announce a membership plan, we call

 SMILE ADVANTAGE. 

Smile Advantage is a membership-based dental savings plan that provides the quality care you deserve at a price you can afford. Members pay an annual fee to receive regular exams, cleanings and X-rays along with access to significantly reduced rates on all other restorative and cosmetic dental procedures performed in our office.

Plus, the plan offers many benefits including no annual caps, no limits and no waiting periods. This provides quick access to the care you need!  If you are frustrated with dental insurance that offers little benefit and high premiums, give us a call today at 608-234-4295 to learn more about how you too can use this wonderful service.  

 

Help Us Fill Our Donation Box | November 2017

November 2017 Blog | Dr. Madsen and Dr. HirschOur office is again  participating in the Goodman Community Center Thanksgiving Food Drive. For every food donation you bring to the office, you will receive an entry into a drawing for a free gift from our office. Donations must be in by Nov. 17th.

Lists of food needed include:

• Canned fruits and vegetables
• Boxes of macaroni and cheese
• Jars of gravy
• Cans of cranberry sauce and broth
• Boxes of stuffing
• Pie crust mix
• Pumpkin pie filling
• Evaporated milk
• Aluminum nesting pans

 

If you would prefer to donate money directly to the Goodman Community Center for the Food Drive:

  http://www.goodmancenter.org/events/thanksgiving-baskets

 

Dentures Then & Now | October 2017

Drs. Madsen and Hirsch | Denture Blog | October, 2017AS RECENTLY AS 2012, one fifth of American adults over sixty-five had lost all of their natural teeth. Whether the tooth loss is from age or other causes, it is a problem dentists have been dealing with for thousands of years.

Dentures Have Ancient Roots

False teeth have been around in some form since at least 700 B.C., when they were made out of human or animal teeth. Tooth decay became a much bigger problem after the Industrial Revolution when refined sugar became cheap and our intake of it shot through the roof. Because more people were losing teeth, more people needed false ones, and denture technology advanced.

Easily the most famous man who needed dentures back in the day was George Washington. We’ve all heard about his wooden teeth, but they’re actually a myth. He had several sets of dentures, custom made for him from hippo ivory and human teeth, with gold wires and brass screws to hold them together.

Modern Dentures Have Come A Long Way

Today, dentures are typically made of plastics and acrylic resin, but they come in several different types, so let’s look at the main ones.

The Classic: Full Denture

When none of the natural teeth can be saved, a conventional full denture is a common choice. The denture isn’t placed in the patient’s mouth until after the gum tissues have finished healing, which can take several months.

Many people don’t like going so long without teeth, so immediate full dentures can be used in the meantime. Because the bone changes shape over the course of those months, immediate full dentures serve as a temporary denture or what we call a training denture, allowing the patient, especially the first time denture wearer, a chance to get used to eating, speaking, and the feel of dentures. This denture will need to be relined or replaced once the tissues have healed.

Want to learn how dentures are made? Check out the video below:

 

The Hybrid: Partial Denture

When at least a few of the natural teeth are still present, they serve as excellent anchors for partial dentures that replace the missing teeth. Partial dentures can be inserted and removed in much the same way as retainers. Alternatively, a permanent bridge can be installed. Partial dentures are a great option because the more of your original teeth you have, the stronger your jaw bones will be.

Going Bionic: Implant-Supported Denture

The main drawback with removable dentures is that they do little to prevent the bone loss in the jaws that occurs with tooth loss. Permanent options like dental implants, bridges, and implant-supported dentures do much better at continuing to apply the bite pressure the bone needs in order to stay strong, which preserves the shape of the face. They also make it easier to speak and chew than removable dentures, because they don’t have the risk of falling out.

Take Proper Care Of Your Dentures

All false teeth need regular cleaning to prevent discoloration and plaque buildup, whether they’re removable or permanent. They need to be brushed along with your gums, tongue, and palate. It’s important not to let them dry out, so you should store them in a denture soaking solution or even water when you’re not wearing them—just not hot water. Ultrasonic cleaners will also help keep them clean (but they don’t replace brushing). It is also very important, even when you wear dentures, to see us at Madsen & Hirsch Dental Care at least once a year to have your dentures professionally cleaned and have your mouth and gum tissues examined for potential mouth sores or cancerous lesions.

Come See Us!

If you are considering dentures, don’t hesitate to talk to us! We can provide any information you need. It can be difficult to have confidence when you have missing teeth, but dentures can let you take charge again.

 

We’re here to help you love your smile again!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.