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  • Writer's pictureDr Ben White, DDS

All About Your Teeth

Sometimes it's hard to take care of our teeth like we're supposed to so we wanted to teach you a little about how they work and why it's important... to give you an extra push to floss tonight ;-)

Our teeth are really cool and unique to us... almost like fingerprints! You have 32 of them (well most of us do) and they are situated in your mouth like mini icebergs - a lot more is under the surface.

Enamel: made mostly of calcium phosphate (a rock-hard mineral and the hardest in your body), it acts as a shield for your tooth

Dentin: beneath the enamel, dentin is. another hard tissue that contains microscopic tubes

Pulp: this cavity is the softer, living inner structure of the tooth and contains nerve tissue and blood vessels

Root: the root acts as an anchor for your teeth, keeping them in place by embedding in the jawbone

What does it mean to have a cavity?

A cavity occurs when the outer layers of a tooth start to break down, causing small holes that expose the inner, softer part of the tooth.

What causes a cavity?

A sticky film called 'plaque' forms when the bacteria in your mouth break down the sugars within the food + drink you consume, turning them into acid. When this acid isn't removed in time through brushing and flossing, it begins to erode the enamel and slowly spreads throughout your tooth unless taken care of.

How do I know if I have a cavity?

Getting regular check-ups is the best way to know but a few other signs include:

- temperature sensitivity

- increasingly bad breath (that isn't phased by your normal oral routine)

- tooth pain

- visible decay

What happens if I get a cavity?

Dr. White will do what's called a cavity filling. Essentially, and depending on your specific case, the area around the affected tooth will be numbed first with a topical gel and then a local anesthetic through injection. Once this has taken effect, Dr. White will use a number of tools to remove any decay before cleaning and filling the hole. Your tooth is then polished and shaped to adhere to your regular bite pattern and voila - you're all set!

It's important to remember that time is of the essence - the sooner you go to the dentist, the more simple and painless the procedure will be!

How can I protect my smile?

Through a solid + consistent oral health care routine!

Step 1

Visit White Smiles for a comprehensive exam in which Dr. White and staff will give you a crystal clear picture of your oral health and provide any recommendations they have!

Step 2

Get regular cleanings (about every 6 months)

Step 3

Start with mouthwash before you brush! If you do it afterward, you rinse all the beneficial fluoride off of your teeth.

Step 4

Use a soft-bristled toothbrush + fluoride toothpaste and brush your teeth for 2 minutes - making sure to hit all those hard-to-reach spots in the way back! (we recommend changing your toothbrush head once every 2-3 months)

Step 5

Floss between each tooth, moving the floss side to side, up, down, and all the way to your gumline. (also try to utilize a fresh portion of floss between every tooth to limit the spread of any remaining bacteria that can be harmful to your teeth)


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