Todd McAdams, D.D.S.

So you brush your teeth, but you still have some mild gum inflammation. You don’t want to let your gums and teeth deteriorate to the point that you’ll need dentures, so what do you do?

Most dental experts agree that you can keep dentures out of your future if you take several preventive steps.

Visiting the dentist twice-yearly keeps gum disease and tooth decay at bay. Be proactive -- if you develop a small problem, take care of it right away.  Once cavities and periodontal problems advance, teeth may need to be extracted.

Some classic symptoms of gum inflammation are red, swollen, tender or bleeding gums.  But, in the early stages of a gum problem the cure may be as simple as having your teeth cleaned at the dentist’s office and implementing better oral care at home. Left untreated, gum disease can progress to bone loss, which in turn can lead to tooth loss. If your teeth are loose, shifting or the gaps between your teeth are wider, it may mean that bone loss from gum disease may be the hidden problem. Severe pain may indicate a progression of decay of the nerve in the center of the tooth. If you have already lost more than a few teeth you should seek a type of prosthesis, or the pressure on the remaining teeth will be too great.  If you have a cracked tooth, see your dentist, a crown might save the tooth.

Todd McAdams, D.D.S.

420 Rocky Knob Lane

Fayetteville, Tenn.