Adult Dental Health

As people become busy with their careers and family, their adult dental health is in danger of being ignored. Many adults had dental work when they were younger. It is important to remember that fillings and crowns do not last forever; they must be monitored at each six-month visit to the Dental Depot. If necessary, fillings (also called dental restorations) might be replaced. Replacing a filling would repair a damaged or decayed tooth, restoring it back to its normal shape, appearance and function. Restoration can prevent the loss of a tooth, since decay may spread and destroy the tooth.

Like a replacement filling, a replacement crown does just what its name implies: it replaces the natural crown of a tooth. When all (or a large part) of the original crown of a tooth has been destroyed by injury or decay, the lost tooth material needs to be replaced. A natural crown that has become discolored or unsightly can be replaced with a new crown. The new crown can be made to match the surrounding teeth in color, shape and proportion. Replacing fillings and crowns is a big step to optimal adult dental health.

Another issue affecting adults as well as adolescents is periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection of the gums that destroys the bone and tissues that hold the teeth. It is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. Genetically, some people are more likely than others to have periodontal disease, and the problem can be aggravated by smoking, taking certain medications, stress and other factors.

Some studies suggest that gum disease is associated with the risk for stroke. When periodontal disease is treated by reducing inflammation and lowering the quantities of harmful bacteria in the mouth, it can have a major impact on inflammation in the rest of the body.

Oral cancer is another serious dental problem among adults. Smoking and alcohol abuse are the major causes, but 25 percent of oral cancers appear in people who have never smoked or drunk to excess. Prevention, screening and early treatment are crucial to lowering the negative effects of oral cancer.

The first sign of oral cancer is often a tiny white or red spot in the mouth, but the disease can be detected before a sore appears. At the Dental Depot, Dr. Ghering will look for suspicious lesions at each dental exam. He might recommend a visit to an oral pathologist as the next step.

Remember that regular brushing and flossing, as well as routine visits to the Dental Depot, will help you achieve optimal adult dental health. For more information about oral care for adults, please visit the American Dental Association website.

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