Plaque, which is the sticky film of food and bacteria, can harden on the teeth in 24 hours and become tartar. Even with proper home care it is important for you be seen regularly to remove this hardened material which brushing and flossing alone will not do. If left untreated this build- up can cause gingivitis, the first stage of periodontal disease. The bacteria in plaque can also cause tooth decay. A small cavity can be taken care of easily, but if it grows into the softer dentin layer of the tooth, it can reach the pulp chamber causing further pain and infection to the point where root canal treatment may be required. Missing or misaligned teeth as well as failing fillings can also harbor decay and infection. Regular exams allow us the opportunity to treat the area before the problem becomes more involved. This is why we recommend recare appointments every three to six months. This appointment allows us to remove plaque build-up, examine the health of the gums, measure bone levels, and inspect the teeth and restorations for cavities.