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As a patient at Midgette Dentistry, you know how important it is to take care of your teeth and gums. However, even with the best oral hygiene practices, common dental issues can still arise. From cavities to gum disease, halitosis to teeth grinding, these are all problems that our dentists see on a daily basis. But don’t worry, with the right knowledge and treatment, these issues can be effectively managed. In this blog post, we will dive into the most common oral health issues seen by our dentists today and discuss their causes and treatments. So let’s get started on our journey to maintaining a healthy smile!

Cavities and Tooth Decay

Cavities and tooth decay are among the most common dental issues, affecting individuals of all ages, from young children indulging in sweets to adults enjoying their favorite foods. At the heart of this issue is the interplay between bacteria in the mouth and sugary or starchy foods and drinks. When these elements combine, they produce acids that attack the enamel, the protective outer layer of the teeth. Over time, this acid can break down the enamel, leading to the formation of cavities. Regular brushing and flossing play a crucial role in removing plaque, the sticky film of bacteria that contributes to tooth decay. Fluoride, found in most toothpaste and often in drinking water, acts as a defender of enamel, helping to prevent the acid from causing harm.

For those already facing cavities, advancements in dental care provide effective treatments ranging from fillings to crowns, designed to restore the affected tooth and prevent further decay. The key to combating the persistent problem of cavities and tooth decay lies in a combination of diligent home care and professional dental treatments at Midgette Dentistry, ensuring that your teeth remain strong and healthy for years to come.

Gum Disease

Gum disease—also known as gingivitis in its early stage, and periodontitis when it becomes more severe—is a common oral health issue that stems from the buildup of plaque along and under the gum line. Plaque is a sticky film of food debris, bacteria, and saliva. If not removed, it can harden into tartar, further irritating the gums and leading to inflammation, bleeding, and symptoms of gingivitis.

Without intervention, gingivitis can advance to periodontitis, where the gums pull away from the teeth and form spaces or “pockets” that become infected. The body’s immune system fights the bacteria as the plaque spreads and grows below the gum line. But the toxins produced by the bacteria, combined with the body’s response to infection, start to break down the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place.

The cure for gum disease starts with professional cleaning to remove plaque and tartar, followed by improved daily oral hygiene practices, including brushing twice a day and flossing regularly. In more advanced cases, treatment may include deep cleaning (scaling and root planing), medications, or even surgery to restore supportive tissues. Early detection and intervention are key to effectively managing gum disease and maintaining a healthy smile.

Halitosis: Beyond Bad Breath

Halitosis, commonly referred to as bad breath, is a pervasive issue that can stem from a variety of sources. While it might seem like a simple inconvenience, persistent bad breath often indicates underlying dental or health concerns. The primary culprits behind halitosis include poor oral hygiene, gum disease, dry mouth, and even certain foods and tobacco products.

When oral hygiene is neglected, bacteria build up on the teeth, gums, and tongue, producing foul-smelling compounds. Gum disease, an infection of the tissues surrounding the teeth as discussed above, is another frequent contributor to bad breath. Additionally, a dry mouth condition, whether due to medications or health issues, can exacerbate bad breath by reducing saliva flow, which naturally helps cleanse the mouth of food particles and bacteria.

Treating halitosis effectively involves a multi-faceted approach. Maintaining a diligent oral hygiene routine—brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and using an antibacterial mouthwash—can significantly reduce bacteria levels. Hydration is also key; drinking plenty of water stimulates saliva production, helping to rinse away food particles and bacteria. For those with persistent bad breath, a visit to your dentist at Midgette Dentistry is essential to identify and treat any underlying issues such as gum disease or to recommend specialized products designed to combat halitosis.

Understanding Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is a condition that affects many individuals, often occurring during sleep, making it a tricky issue to self-diagnose. While it might seem harmless at first, persistent grinding can lead to a host of dental problems, including wear and tear on the teeth, increased sensitivity, and even damage to the jaw. The causes of bruxism can vary widely, from stress and anxiety to misaligned teeth or an abnormal bite. Interestingly, some people grind their teeth as a natural response to pain elsewhere in the body or as a side effect of certain medications.

Addressing bruxism requires a comprehensive approach. Dentists often recommend wearing a custom-fitted mouthguard at night to protect the teeth from the pressure of grinding. Additionally, identifying and managing stressors can significantly reduce the frequency of grinding episodes. For those whose bruxism is linked to dental issues, corrective treatments such as braces or aligners might be necessary to align the teeth properly and relieve grinding. Regular check-ins with your dentist at Midgette Dentistry are essential for monitoring the condition and making any needed adjustments to your treatment plan. With the right interventions, it’s entirely possible to minimize the impact of bruxism on your oral health.

Special Issues in Patients with Orthodontics and Dental Devices

For individuals with orthodontic appliances such as braces or retainers, as well as those with dental devices like bridges and dentures, special care is crucial to maintaining oral health. These devices, while incredibly beneficial, can create unique challenges in preventing common dental issues. Food particles and plaque have more places to hide, making thorough cleaning essential.

It’s important to use specialized tools designed for cleaning around braces or beneath bridges and dentures. For braces, interdental brushes and water flossers can be a game-changer, allowing you to reach those hard-to-clean areas effectively. Those with removable devices should clean them daily using products specifically formulated for their care, ensuring they’re free from harmful bacteria and debris.

Additionally, regular visits to your dentist or orthodontist become even more critical. These professionals can provide professional cleanings that address areas difficult for standard home care to reach and check for any adjustments that may be needed to ensure your devices are functioning correctly and comfortably. Embracing these specialized care routines will protect your oral health while you benefit from these orthodontic and dental devices.

Regular Dental Check-ups—A Critical Component

The importance of regular dental check-ups and cleanings at Midgette Dentistry cannot be overstated when it comes to maintaining optimal oral health. These visits provide a unique opportunity for our dental professionals to thoroughly examine your mouth, identify any potential issues early on, and offer professional cleanings that go beyond what can be achieved at home.

During a check-up, your dentist can spot signs of cavities, gum disease, and other common oral health issues before they escalate into more serious problems. Professional cleanings remove plaque and tartar build-up that regular brushing and flossing might miss, preventing the progression of gum disease and tooth decay.

Moreover, these appointments are an ideal time for patients to discuss their oral hygiene habits with their dentist, receive personalized advice, and make any necessary adjustments to their oral care routine. By prioritizing these regular visits, you’re not just investing in your oral health; you’re taking a proactive step towards ensuring your overall well-being. Remember, preventing dental issues is always more beneficial and less costly than treating them after they’ve developed.

The team of oral care experts at Midgette Dentistry is here to treat any of these common dental issues, and much more, for patients in the Richmond, VA area. Contact us today to make an appointment for a consultation. Your dental health and comfort are our priorities.


“Staff very pleasant. Hardly any wait time once you arrive. Can normally get me in within 1-2 days with an emergency. This review is still true… called on Mon, had an appt on Wed❤️❤️”

Sylvia Green

“A very friendly Dental practice & one where anyone of any age will feel comfortable in knowing that the staff is caring, compassionate, and professional. The level of care you receive here is second to none.”

William Grigg

“Really amazed at the process you used to ensure the positive outcome of the procedure of aligning my teeth! Dental work has progressed so much that I kept my mouth open in awe!
Good for getting the job done!”

Mary Vest

“I had my first appointment here today. It was wonderful. The whole team is very compassionate and actually explains everything and listens intently to your concerns. Will definitely use them as my new dentist. Loved it.”

Katherine Stott

“Wonderful family practice! They schedule my appointments so I can go with all my kids (5) at one time. Also had a great experience re-surfacing my front teeth and they’ve never been whiter!”

Rebecca Madison
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