oral pathologies & diseases

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Tooth Decay

Tooth decay (A.K.A Caries) is a result from the bacteria in our mouth being excessively and constantly fuelled by the sugars and acids from foods and drinks.

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Our mouths are full of good and bad bacteria which live on our teeth, gums, tongue and soft tissue, but the bad bacteria (either tooth bacteria or gum bacteria) are the ones that start eating your enamel (hard outside layer of your tooth) away.

If the early tooth decay is caught early, it may be able to be reversed (re-mineralised), but once the tooth decay bacteria have eaten through the enamel and started eating the dentine (2nd layer of the tooth) it has done irreversible damage to the tooth structure and a filling is required. You may start to feel pain and sensitivity once the tooth decay has progressed. If the tooth decay is left, it will keep eating through the tooth and it will eventually reach the nerve of the tooth. If the tooth decay bacteria reach the nerve of the tooth it will cause an infection which will then require Root Canal Treatment or Extraction.

How can it be prevented?

The best way to prevent tooth decay is to:
* Brush thoroughly at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste (after breakfast and the last thing before bed)
* Floss once a day (last thing before bed)
* Eat a healthy diet (limit sugar and acids)
* Drink lots of water (limit juice, soft drinks, lemon in water)
* Visit the dentist for 6 monthly check up’s and clean


How is it treated?
Enamel only decay can be reversed/re-mineralised with increasing good dental hygiene, diet and in conjunction with products such as Toothmousse, Toothmousse Plus, Neutrafluor 5000 mouth rinse, Neutrafluor 5000 toothpaste.
Once the tooth decay has reached the dentine (2nd layer of the tooth) it has done irreversible damage to the tooth structure and a filling is needed.

Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are your last permanent adult teeth (A.K.A 3rd Molars) to erupt, which can happen anywhere from your teenage years right up until your middle age. We usually develop 4 wisdom teeth and if you have enough space for your wisdom teeth to come through, if they are in a good position and are decay free, you may not need to get them extracted.

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However, wisdom teeth may need to be removed if they are either decayed, in a bad position, causing pain or infection or are impacted on your other teeth.

How can it be prevented?
Wisdom teeth cannot be prevented! If needed, we will refer you for an OPG x-ray (full face x-ray) to check if you have wisdom teeth and how they are positioned. The best way to prevent your wisdom teeth from causing any problems or infection is to attend your 6-monthly routine check-up and cleans.

How is it treated?
When your wisdom teeth are erupting through the gum, they may cause some discomfort and pain. They may also, take a few months to fully come through so it is important at this stage to keep the area clean by thoroughly brushing the gum and using salty water mouth rinses to flush the area. Some people may need to take painkillers during this stage.

If your wisdom teeth cause you pain, are decayed, are in a bad position or are impacted we may recommend that you have them extracted. In most cases, you will be referred to a specialist (maxillofacial surgeon).

Gum Disease (Gingivitis and Periodontitis)

Gum disease is probably the most common disease in the world. It happens in adults and children at any age. The main contributing factors …

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The main contributing factors for gum disease are lack or poor oral hygiene and diet. Other factors that may contribute are, certain health conditions and medications, smoking, genetics, stress and age. Gum disease has 2 stages:


Gingivitis:
This is the early stage of gum disease and most people will have it at some point in their lives! Gingivitis happens when plaque and/or calculus are present around your teeth and/or gums and in most cases, you will notice red, bleeding, tender and/or swollen Gums. This stage can be reversed with a professional scale and clean.

Periodontitis: This is the second stage of gum disease and it happens when gingivitis is left untreated. The bacteria form plaque and/or calculus start “burrowing” into the gums and “eating” the bone away. The more bone loss a tooth has, higher are the changes of tooth loss. In most cases, periodontitis will cause bad breath, bad smell, receding gums and in some situations, tooth mobility, toothache and tooth loss. This stage causes permanent damage to the bone surrounding the affected tooth. Periodontitis can be treated, often by a specialist, but if left untreated, it will lead to severe bone and tooth loss.

How can it be prevented?
The best way to prevent gum disease is to:
* Brush thoroughly at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste (after breakfast and the last thing before bed)
* Floss once a day (last thing before bed)
* Eat a healthy diet (limit sugar and acids)
* Drink lots of water (limit juice, soft drinks, lemon in water)

Oral Cancers

Oral cancer can manifest in multiple ways and sometimes appear as a growth or a sore that does not go away and, in most case, doesn’t hurt.

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How can it be prevented?
It is hard to prevent cancers in general, but genetics and lifestyle factors such as smoking, heavy drinking and sun exposure do increase the chances of mouth cancer. At Buderim Dental Surgery, we perform an oral cancer screening at your Initial Examination and at every Routine Check-Up.
You can reduce the risks of oral cancer by:

  • Not smoking or using any tobacco products
  • Drinking alcohol in moderation
  • Limiting sun exposure and wearing UVA/B Sunscreen or Lip balm.

How is it treated?
If we are suspicious of any areas in your mouth, we will refer you to an Oral Pathologist for an assessment. Oral cancers may require removal and/or radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy.

Tooth Wear & Erosion

Tooth wear is a term used to describe the loss of tooth structure either by pathological or natural causes. There are a few factors that may cause tooth wear, and these may include:

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* Acid Erosion – it is the corrosion of the tooth usually caused by soft drinks, fruit juice, lemon in water or stomach and eating disorders.
* Bruxism – pathological tooth wear from clenching and/or grinding, usually related to stress, anxiety, pain or it may be genetically predisposed.
* Abrasion – pathological tooth wear usually from incorrect brushing technique.
* Abfractions – pathological tooth wear at the neck of the tooth, close to the gum, caused by clenching and/or grinding or excessive forces.
* Tongue Jewellery – tooth wear from the jewellery hitting or rubbing against the tooth.

How can it be prevented?
You can try to prevent tooth wear by:
* Reducing soft drinks, juice or lemon water consumption ( once a week or special occasions)
* See us regularly to discuss brushing techniques and how to prevent further wear or erosion
* Remove tongue jewellery
* Maintain your 6 monthly routine check-ups
* Talk to you GP about any stomach conditions and eating disorders

How is it treated?
There are several treatment options for tooth wear, depending on the severity and location of the wear, the age of the person, the type of pathology, budget and more. Treatment options range from simple tooth-coloured fillings to night splints and even Botox.

Dark or Discoloured Teeth

Teeth can discolour in a range of colours and either due to internal changes (intrinsic) or external staining (extrinsic).

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Extrinsic staining can usually be removed by a scale and polish at your dentist, whereas intrinsic staining is a permanent stain which will require dental treatment such as microabration, fillings, veneers, crowns and teeth whitening to fix the aesthetic look of a tooth/teeth.
Internal changes (intrinsic) can be due to:
* Having tetracycline antibiotics as a child
* Trauma to a tooth/teeth
* Too much fluoride as a child
* Genetic conditions
* Age

External changes (extrinsic) can be due to dark or coloured foods and drinks such as:
* Coffee
* Tea
* Red Wine
* Smoke/Chew tobacco
* Curry

How can it be prevented?
Intrinsic staining can be hard to prevent as they usually have already occurred when you were very young or due to an accident or our natural aging process. Extrinsic staining however can be somewhat prevented due to dietary changes and 6 months check-up and cleans by your dentist and most of the time be simply whitened with teeth whitening.

How is it treated?
Intrinsic staining will need to be treated with – teeth whitening, fillings, veneers or crowns to change the appearance as this is a permanent stain within the tooth. Extrinsic stains can be removed with either or a combination of 6 months check-up and cleans by your dentist and teeth whitening.

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is caused by the loss of saliva flow which can make you feel thirsty and make mouth feel uncomfortable. Saliva helps protect our teeth, cleanse our mouth and helps with digestion. Without Saliva, our mouths are more prone to dental problems such as tooth decay, bad breath and soft tissue irritation. Talk to your dentist or GP if you experience dry mouth as there may be a range of products to help.

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How can it be prevented?

Sometimes dry mouth is caused by factors that cannot be prevented, but your dentist can monitor your salvia flow at your 6 month check up and cleans.
Dry mouth can be caused by:
* Medication ( side effect from anti-depressants, antihistamines, diuretics, beta-blockers, anti-hypertensives)
* Age ( natural aging)
* Disease (HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s)
* Medical Conditions ( Diabetes)
* Side Effect from Certain Procedures ( Radiation therapy)

How is it treated?
Dry Mouth is usually treated with Biotene mouth sprays, rinses and chewing gum specially formulated for people with severe dry mouth conditions. You can also try to keep your mouth moist by:
* Drink small slips of water regularly
* Use sugar free chewing gum and lollies
* Brush and floss your teeth 2x a day
* Use a humidifier at night time
* Eating foods that contain a lot of fluid and juice such as fruits
* Moisten your foods with gravy, sauces, olive oil, mayonnaise, yogurt

To make your mouth more comfortable by avoiding:
* hot and dry environments
* Caffeinated drinks
* Salty, Acidic, Dry, Crunchy and Spicy foods and drinks
* Alcohol
* Smoking

Oral Thrush

Oral Thrush is a fungal infection caused by an increase in the fungus candida bacteria which naturally occurs our body.

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Oral Thrush can be caused by a range of reasons and is not contagious. If you are concerned, please see your dentist for treatment.

How can it be prevented?
Oral Thrush can be caused by:
* Taking antibiotics
* Poor Oral Hygiene
* Dentures
* Smoking
* Medication (corticosteroid medication for asthma)
* Treatment ( Radiation & Chemotherapy)
* Medical Conditions (Diabetes, HIV, Underactive thyroid, Iron & Vitamin B12 Deficiency)

Sometimes you may be more prone to Oral Thrush due to a medical condition, but you can try to prevent Oral Thrush by:
* Having good Oral Hygiene
* Visiting your dentist every 6 months for a check up and clean
* Remove your dentures at night time
* Cleaning your denture with polident tablets
* Visit your dentist if your denture are loose or uncomfortable
* Avoid Smoking
* Avoid Alcohol

How is it treated?
Oral Thrush is usually treated with anti-fungal medication in form of a gel, liquid or tablets which usually clear up the oral thrush in 1-2 weeks.

Geographic Tongue

Geographic tongue looks like irregular patchy red shapes with sometimes a white border which occurs on the tongue.

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The Patches often move around and can occur for months at a time and often reoccurs. Geographic tongue usually genetic, it is not contagious and is harmless and occurs in 2% of the population, with more commonly in females due to hormones and adults. Geographic tongue can sometimes cause discomfort which usually does not need any medical treatment but sometimes a mouth rinse containing antiseptic, anaesthetic or corticosteroids can help.

How can it be prevented?
Geographic tongue cannot be prevented as there is a strong genetic factor. Other factors linked to the condition are:
* Certain Foods – Cheese especially
* Psoriasis – Pustular psoriasis especially
* Diabetes
* Anaemia
* Asthma
* Eczema
* Stress

How is it treated?
There is no known cure for Geographic tongue and is not normally treated unless it is causing discomfort. If you experience discomfort, a mouth rinse containing antiseptic, anaesthetic or corticosteroids can help.

Bone Exostosis ( Bone Growth)

Bone Exostosis is a benign, painless bone growth that occurs in all shapes and sizes and is not contagious or a problem unless the growths are very large and the patient is struggling to eat, talk or wear a denture.

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Bone Exostosis usually occurs from middle age and can be found on the roof of the mouth, under the tongue and inner or outer of the buccal gum area. Bone Exostosis can be any shape or size starting from 2mm – 1-2cm and is more commonly found in males rather and females.

How can it be prevented?
Bone Exostosis can be caused by:
* Bruxism (teeth grinding or clenching)
* Genetic Factor (cannot be prevented)

How is it treated?
Bone Exostosis is normally left untreated unless the growths are very large and the patient is struggling to eat, talk or wear a denture. There is no known cure, but if the patient wants the bone exostosis removed it can be done surgically by an Oral Surgeon but can slowly grow back.

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