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Dentistry/Preventing decay

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Question
I am 34 and I already have 3 crowns and fillings in most of my molars. :-( I brush and floss my teeth 2-3 times a day. After breakfast, middle of the day and before bed. I suck on xylitol candies and use fluoride rinse at night. I don't drink soda or eat any kind of food that sticks in my teeth. I don't even eat dried fruit. Do you have any another tips for me. I don't want any more issues with decay. :-(

Answer
Dear Susan,
Sorry for the delay.  I will answer the best I can.

First I want you to know that you are doing everything possible to fight tooth decay.  I know that if you continue all the preventive measures you described you will be doing everything science has learned about prevention of tooth decay.

Unfortunately decay problems will persist, all be it at a slower pace than if you weren't performing the preventive measures you describe.  The reason is that no matter how skilled the dentist, nor what filling material used, once that first hole is drilled into a permanent tooth. that tooth is destined to a lifetime of breakdown and repair with ever larger fillings, eventually crowns and oftentimes root canals and extractions.  Unfortunately we have no "permanent" filling materials.

This breakdown and repair process over time costs thousands of dollars per tooth as fillings are replaced with ever larger fillings.  Research shows that if you have a dentist who can repair the fillings without removing them you will greatly reduce the cost over time.  I will add a ling to a study we can help you convince or find a dentist to treat you in the most conservative way.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19955065

Permit me to add pertinent information.  Science and technology have empowered us to reverse early childhood decay before it progresses to the stage where a filling becomes necessary.  A dentist or hygienist now can reverse early decay and avoid the first filling.  This is too late for you, but the same remineralization proceedures can and are slowing down the rate of recurrent decay around your fillings - so keep it up.  You are doing the best care possible.

We are now working in the direction of starting these preventive treatments through well baby visits starting at one year of age in the medical pediatric clinic.  This will afford the good possibility that you children and grand children can live life free of tooth decay.  I will include a link to a very good description of remineralization both for ones children and grand children and includes the best ways to slow down the breakdown of your present dental restorations.  Much of which you are doing now.
http://www.healthpartners.com/files/34749.pdf

I wish I had better news for your own mouth, but with your good hygiene  habits and knowledge I think you are really slowing down the rate of decay and preventing decay in any teeth that don't have fillings.

Larry Burnett DDS
lburnett2@comcast.net  

Dentistry

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Larry Burnett DDS

Expertise

Preventative Dentistry. Conservative Periodontal Therapy

Experience

National lecturer on conservative treatment of periodontal diseases and elimination of tooth decay. Former adjunct professor of oral microbiology at a Leading school of dental hygiene. Former investigator for State Board of Dentistry. Retired from private dental practice.

Organizations
ADA

Publications
RDH Magazine. Numerous articles

Education/Credentials
Graduate of Medical College of VA School of Dentistry. 20 years teaching hygienists at NOVA

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