Rampant decay is caused by one or a combination of 3 factors:
Poor Oral Hygiene
This should be addressed daily by the patient. The following is a guide to improve your oral hygiene:
- Brushing, flossing and regular dental visits are a must to help keep your teeth and mouth healthy.
- Brushing should be in a circular motion with the brush pointed at a 45 degree angle toward the gums for a minimum of 3 minutes, at least twice a day. Also use your toothbrush to massage your gums, clean your palate and tongue. Rinse your toothbrush thoroughly after use and place upright in a container. Rotary toothbrushes have been proven to clean up to 20% better than a manual one. Please call our office for more information or to purchase a rotary brush. Replace the toothbrush or brush head about every 3 months.
- Flossing should be done by forming a C shape around the tooth then sliding up and down to remove plaque and debris. Damage can be caused by excessive sliding of the floss in a sawing motion.
- Rinsing your mouth with products like listerine, colgate pro-health or act will help improve your oral health.
- Other tools that can help are water picks (on a low setting), floss threaders and holders, and as always routine dental visits.
An acidic mouth will demineralize the pores in the enamel (outer layer) of your teeth. When this happens decay begins and spreads into the teeth very rapidly. Chronic habits such as; drinking soda, sports drinks, caffeine drinks or alcohol, sucking on mints, or chewing tobacco can create the problem.
Another cause is stomach acid reflux. You should consult with your physician to help control this. It can be controlled by medicine and adjuncts such as saliva substitutes (Biotene Dry Mouth products), gum to help stimulate saliva flow, mouth sprays and toothpaste.
We have seen patients with rampant decay who drink only 1 bottle of soda a day, but they sip on it all day long. This keeps a constant flow of acid over the teeth. Normally the saliva can balance out the acid but it can take up to 45 minutes for this to happen. So sipping all day long will keep your mouth acidic all day long. It is best to drink these things with your meals and drink water in between.
Salivary flow is essential to reduce acid, and clean the teeth. Without the normal flow, teeth are vulnerable to rampant decay. A dry mouth can be more difficult to deal with. It can be caused by several factors:
- Salivary gland damage due to trauma or disease.
- Medications that we need to take (or choose to take), such as drugs for depression, anxiety, sinus congestion, obesity, pain (opioids), epilepsy, high blood pressure, diarrhea, nausea, asthma, psychotic disorders, and recreational use are only some of the drugs that will slow your saliva flow down. The list is very extensive.
- If possible it is best to change or stop the medication that is causing this. When not possible, an increase in oral hygiene, saliva substitutes, and prescription toothpaste may be needed.
One of these factors can be disastrous to your teeth, but a combination can be devastating.
- First we need to identify the cause and address it.
- Next we will help you get your mouth to a stable point (no infection or decay). This can include a prescription strength toothpaste (clinpro 5000) and a mouth splint for application. This will help remineralize the pores of the enamel to reduce the start and rate of decay.
- Removing decay that is already present can include fillings, root canals, crowns, and extractions. This can be very costly and we will work with you to determine what is best for your budget.
- In some cases we will phase treatment (or do things in steps). Phasing treatment can mean restoring teeth with large fillings instead of crowns thus reducing the cost to achieve the goal of no decay.
- When a large filling is done instead of a crown the tooth is weaker and can chip or break. Chewing harder foods should be avoided.
- After you have reached a stable point, It is important to follow up with dental visits to make sure the decay factor is under control.