The Basics

Knowing Your Mouth

At Red Bank smiles, we believe that prevention is key. We will spend the time to educate you on the state of your mouth, how it got that way, what we can do to fix it, and what we can do to prevent it from happening again.

We have learned that there is a distinct link between the health of the mouth and the health of the body. Studies have continually proven that a healthy mouth leads to a healthier body. Oral diseases have been linked to diabetes, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, and the exacerbation of auto-immune diseases.

What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease occurs when hardened bacteria in the form of calculus, or tartar, builds up around the roots of the teeth, causing the gums to detach from the teeth, allowing more bacteria to accumulate in the pockets that have been formed. As the disease progresses, the pockets increase in size and the gums can become inflamed and swollen. The early stages of gum disease are known as gingivitis.

As the gum disease progresses further, the inflammation caused by the bacteria leads to the destruction of the surrounding bone and ligaments, and eventual tooth loss.

Thorough, deep cleaning is still the best line of attack on gum disease. We use piezo-electric scalers to loosen the calculus (tartar) and fine hand instruments to remove the remaining calculus and to polish the root srface.

Deep cleaning is also known as scaling and root planing. In scaling our hygienist removes plaque (a sticky film of bacteria) and calculus, which is hardened plaque. Scaling is done above the gum line in cleanings and below the gum line in deep cleanings. Root planing is done to smooth any rough areas and remove any residual calculus. The smooth surface encourages the gums to reattach to the root and discourages plaque build-up.

Through our thorough deep cleanings and patient education we have helped many patients get their severe gum disease under control and save their teeth. When severe gum disease doesn’t respond to our treatment, we work with an excellent partner periodontist, a specialist in gum disease treatment.

What are Cavities?

There are many different types of bacteria that live in and on our bodies. We know that there are a select few species that causes cavities, or tooth decay. Simply, those bacteria eat simple sugars, mostly found in processed food, and turn them into acid, which puts holes in teeth. Proper brushing and flossing helps remove debris and bacteria, but the most important thing is a healthy diet.

What can we do about the bacteria? Not much, unfortunately. These bacteria are passed onto the baby during the first 6 months of birth, mainly by sharing saliva. Moms are the number 1 transmitter of oral bacteria, but other people can share them, too. Xylitol is a sugar that the bad bacteria can’t eat. Regardless of hygiene or diet, if you have the bad bacteria, they can repopulate within minutes of cleaning.

What is TMJ?

Your temporo-mandibular joint, or TMJ, for short are the 2 joints on the side of your face that move your bottom jaw. It is the most complicated and hardest-working joint in the body! Unlike other joints, it moved in all 3 planes of space, and it is easily damaged simply due to the position of your teeth. Some people have jaw joint pain or noises. Some have muscle aches, including frequent headaches or migraines. Still others find they need constant dental work. It could be because the way your teeth and joint work are not in harmony.

What does this all mean?

Eating healthy, cleaning your mouth properly, and maintaining regular dental visits ensures that you will continue to eat healthy, be healthy, live pain-free, smile confidently, and, most important, not continue to spend money on your dental care!