Dupont Dental - Your Washington DC Dentist


  Contact : 1234 19th Street NW Suite 604 | Call us: 202.296.7714

Archive for April 2018

all about tooth decay

All About Tooth Decay

Dentists in Washington D.C and other places often talk about tooth decay. You know that tooth decay isn’t a good thing, but what exactly is tooth decay? What causes it, and what treatments are available to treat tooth decay?

What is Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay is a general term that refers to degradation of one or more parts of the tooth. Tooth decay can lead to holes in the tooth, cracks, and chipping. Left untreated, tooth decay can also lead to gum disease, and even more severe health issues, such as heart disease. There’s no reason to let tooth decay continue to such extremes, however. With regular dental visits, no one has to experience tooth decay.

What Causes Tooth Decay?

The underlying cause of tooth decay is bacteria. Oral bacteria make acid that constantly eats away at the teeth. The bacteria comes from plaque, a sticky substance that forms on the surface of the teeth. You can feel plaque buildup when you run your tongue over your mouth and detect a filmy substance. When you brush away plaque, that filmy feeling is gone.

Bacteria growth is accelerated when you eat sugary foods or drink sugar-laden beverages. It’s further accelerated when you don’t brush and floss your teeth enough.

The filmy substance called plaque can harden over time, making it impossible to brush away simply. When plaque hardens, only a dental professional can remove it. In the meantime, the acid from the bacteria in plaque continues to eat away at the teeth. This is just one reason why it’s so important to have regular dental visits.

What Parts of the Tooth Can Be Affected by Tooth Decay?

The Tooth is made up of several different layers. The surface of the tooth is made up of enamel. It serves as a protective outer layer. The next layer is called dentin. When enamel is eroded due to tooth decay, the dentin begins to be affected, causing what you know as a toothache. The center of the tooth is referred to as the pulp. The pulp contains the nerve endings and blood vessels that keep the tooth alive. All of these parts are susceptible to tooth decay.

Who Can Get Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay can affect people of all ages, including children. In fact, it’s recommended that children have their first dentist visit even before the first tooth erupts to the surface since tooth decay can affect teeth beneath the gum line.

How is Tooth Decay Treated?

The first line of defense against tooth decay is proper oral hygiene at home. Your dentist can guide you as to the latest recommended guidelines for brushing, flossing and rinsing. If you do develop tooth decay, there are many options for treatment, depending on the severity of the problem. These include filling cavities, fluoride treatments, bonding, extraction, dental implants and root canals. Some of these treatments are serious and invasive, while others are less severe.

Tooth decay doesn’t have to get to a stage where extraction and implants are necessary. Your dentist in Washington, D.C. can help you keep tooth decay from ever becoming an issue. Contact us today to book your appointment!

Read More
causes treatments tooth sensitivity

Tooth Sensitivity 101: Causes and Treatments

If you have ever experienced tooth pain after eating an ice cream cone or taking a sip of hot coffee, you know that tooth sensitivity can be very irritating. Although tooth pain is never a welcome sensation, know that you are not alone. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, up to 40 million people experience tooth sensitivity at some point. What causes tooth sensitivity and what treatments are available to ease the symptoms?

What does “tooth sensitivity” mean?

Tooth sensitivity refers to pain or discomfort while eating or drinking hot, cold, or acidic foods. Even the cold air outside can trigger a bout of tooth sensitivity! This sensation is often described as a sharp pain that shoots throughout the affected tooth or teeth.

Causes of tooth sensitivity

But what causes certain teeth to be predisposed to this sensitivity? Often, sensitivity issues occur when the dentin, or tooth’s root, is exposed. As tooth enamel erodes or is damaged, the enamel loses the ability to shield the dentin from irritating substances. Understanding the cause of your tooth sensitivity can play a role in how you treat your condition. Common causes of tooth sensitivity include:

  • Diet: The food and drink choices we make play a large part in sensitivity issues. Acidic drinks like soda can wear down enamel quickly, causing the dentin to be at risk of sensitivity to hot and cold foods.
  • Wearing down enamel during brushing: Using an abrasive toothpaste or brushing vigorously can prematurely wear down enamel.
  • Aging: The National Institutes of Health estimate that the peak of tooth sensitivity is in individuals aged 30-40. The structure of teeth may change as we age, enamel can be worn down over time, and receding gum lines can contribute to exposed dentin.
  • Cracked or chipped tooth: Injuries to a tooth can also expose the sensitive dentin.
  • Teeth grinding
  • Teeth whitening treatments: Sensitivity is often cited as a common side effect of such treatments. Although, in this case, it tends to be temporary sensitivity.
  • Periodontitis

What types of treatment are available?

If you’ve experienced tooth sensitivity, your dentist may be able to help you find relief. The first step is to determine the cause of your sensitivity, as treatments will vary depending on the cause. Is diet to blame? If so, making a few dietary changes, such as eliminating soda, can help prevent further enamel erosion. Is a vigorous brushing routine to blame? If so, that can also be amended by switching toothpaste and using more gentle brushing strokes; your dentist will be able to suggest an appropriate toothpaste and rinse for sensitive teeth.

If your dentist determines that your tooth sensitivity is caused by more advanced issues, like a chipped tooth, you will have to address that problem before the sensitivity can be resolved.

Do hot, cold, and acidic foods make you cringe?

You don’t need to avoid hot coffee, ice cream, or lemon water any longer. Contact us today, and we can get you on the path towards relief!

Read More