Dental Health

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Quality Dental Care For Adults & Children In Durham, NC

h-perfectSmile5.jpgAt the dental practice of Dr. Thomas S. Clifton, we provide a wide range of dental services for our Durham, N.C. family dentistry patients. We offer all-around general treatments for adults and children as well as sedation dentistry and endodontic care. Dr. Clifton and his skilled team use only the highest quality treatment techniques and procedures to provide you comfort and confidence in your smile. Find out more about our treatment options below!

Adult Dental Treatment

Research recently shows that bacterial inflammation involved in gum disease has been linked to chronic health problems such as stroke, coronary artery disease, and premature low birth weight babies. Dr. Clifton and his team take extra care in identifying and treating gum disease early to keep you and your mouth healthy.

Tooth Decay

Caries, or tooth decay, is a preventable disease that can negatively impact your life. When you intake large amounts of starches and sugars, acids may form in your mouth and begin to eat away at tooth enamel. Foods that leave deposits and create acid that damages the mineral structure of teeth, include:

  • Candy
  • Cookies
  • Soft Drinks
  • Fruit Juices

Sensitive Teeth

Over time, tooth enamel can wear down, gums may recede, or teeth may develop microscopic cracks, exposing the inside of the tooth and irritating the nerve endings, leading to sensitive teeth. The most common symptom of sensitive teeth is the pain people may experience from temperature changes, such as eating hot or cold food and beverages.

Gum Disease and Periodontics

Gum, or periodontal disease, is caused by a buildup of plaque and can cause inflammation of the gums, tooth loss, and bone damage. Gingivitis, or the early stages of gum disease, is signified by gums that bleed easily and are red and swollen. As the disease progresses into periodontitis, teeth may fall out or need to be removed by your Durham NC dentist. Common problems associated with gum disease, include:

  • Receding gum lines that expose root portions of your teeth, creating “long” teeth
  • Deteriorating or discolored tooth structure
  • Holes in between the teeth in the gum tissue, otherwise known as gum depressions
  • Signs of infection of the gum line, such as discoloration or inflammation
  • Tooth loss or tooth movement

As a periodontist, Dr. Clifton specializes in the treatment and surgery of the tissue around your teeth that has been damaged by gum disease. Proper oral hygiene, including correct brushing and flossing, as well as regular dental check-ups, can minimize your risk of gum disease.

Bad Breath (Halitosis)

When proper brushing and flossing is not exercised, food particles can get left in the mouth and deteriorate, causing bad breath. While certain foods, such as garlic or anchovies, may create temporary bad breath, consistent bad breath may be a sign of gum disease or another dental problem.

Canker Sores

Canker sores are recurring small sores that have a white or grey base, surrounded by a red border. Generally lasting around one to two weeks, the duration of canker sores can usually be reduced by rinsing with antimicrobial mouthwashes or by applying topical agents.

Orthodontic Problems

A malocclusion, or a bite that does not properly meet, can be caused from:

  • Missing teeth
  • Extra teeth
  • Crowded teeth
  • A misaligned jaw

Although it is usually inherited, accidents or developmental issues, such as finger or thumb sucking over an extended period of time, may cause malocclusions.

Children’s Dental Care

According to research, the most common chronic childhood disease in America is tooth decay. Studies have concluded that early dental treatment prevents problems affecting you child’s health, well-being, self-image, and overall achievement.

We recommend parents introduce proper oral care early in their child’s life to ensure that their children practice good dental hygiene later in life. The American Dental Hygiene Association suggests that correct dental care routines for children include:

  • Thoroughly cleaning your infant’s gums with a water-soaked infant cloth after each feeding to stimulate the gum tissue and remove food.
  • Gently brushing your baby’s erupted teeth using a small soft-bristled toothbrush with a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste.
  • Teaching your child around age 2-3 the important of proper brushing techniques. At age 7-8, be sure to introduce flossing.

To further increase your child’s developmental oral health, we recommend coming in for regular dental visits to check for cavities in the primary teeth as early as possible. During these dental visits encourage your child to ask questions and discuss any fears or concerns they may have about their teeth. Parents should feel free to ask any questions they may have as well, including concerns about the fluoridated water supply in your home, as well as how to protect your child’s teeth with sealant applications.

Visit Your Durham Family Dentist

If you have any questions regarding the dental health problems and treatments we have discussed above, please do not hesitate to give our Durham NC office a call at (919) 471-2422, and our friendly staff will be happy to help. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Clifton and our team, contact us or fill out our online form. We look forward to seeing you and your family soon!