Tooth decay is always a major concern. Not only is it painful, it is caused by an infection that could eventually reach the tooth’s pulp chamber. From there, it would enter a patient’s bloodstream. Fortunately, tooth decay is treatable, and at All Coast Dental in Pacific Beach, Drs. Julie and Joseph Boulos are experienced restorers of patients’ dental health. But decay in a tooth root is especially concerning, and we want patients to be able to recognize when they are at risk for it.
Tooth decay is caused by oral bacteria. As they metabolize sugar, they produce acid. Acid, when stuck on tooth enamel, causes the enamel to dissolve. But acid can also cause gum tissue to recede, exposing a tooth’s soft roots. Oral bacteria tends to accumulate at the gum line, particularly on the bottom teeth, where it is harder for a patient to use their toothbrush. If acid causes the gum wall to pull away from the tooth root, bacteria would be able to enter the newly-created pocket, and it would be impossible for a patient to remove them.
During a regular dental appointment, we scrape plaque and tartar away from the gum line. We also examine how loose the gum pockets are and use x-rays to determine if there is an active infection. If so, we can perform a deep cleaning. During this process, we use a local anesthetic to numb the patient and then scrape out the pocket and smooth down the decayed tooth root. However, if a tooth root has been extensively damaged, the tooth may have to be replaced or reinforced with a splint. Gum reconstruction might also require a referral to a periodontist, but if a portion of the gum is merely suffering from gingivitis, it may still be possible to treat without significant intervention.
Drs. Julie and Joseph Boulos operate All Coast Dental at 2180 Garnet Ave, Suite 1-K, Pacific Beach, California, 92109. To schedule an appointment, call 858-270-4904 or visit All Coast Dental and fill out a contact sheet.