Myth: I Don’t Need to Go to the Dentist because Nothing is Bothering Me
We hear this one all the time. It is a dangerous myth because it could put you in a truly life-threatening situation. We want to make the argument that maintenance is much better than repair when it comes to dentistry.
Maintenance vs. Repair Analogy
Think of your car. We all know that we are supposed to keep up with routine maintenance on a car. Aside from an indicator light, your car doesn’t really tell you when it needs an oil change. So you decide not to worry about it. After all, everything feels fine. You don’t notice it driving differently . . . until the motor seizes up.
This could put you in a dangerous situation. It might happen while you are safe at home in your driveway. But it also could happen while you are driving 70mph on I-35E amid all the crazy construction in Denton.
In addition to the dangerous situation that you have put yourself in, you are also looking at a pretty hefty repair bill. This is definitely an expensive problem to fix.
By skipping the relatively inexpensive maintenance of consistent oil changes, you are now in a dangerous and expensive situation with your car. The same is true for your mouth!
Why Maintenance is So Important for Your Mouth
It is the nature of dental disease to progress silently until the problem is severe. It is very likely for cavities and gum disease to be slowly growing without causing any symptoms at all. Waiting until something bothers you means that you are waiting until your dental problem has reached a severe state. All of these issues exhibit early warning signs that your dentist easily picks up on in order to catch problems before they bother you.
Cavities begin at the outermost layer of enamel and slowly work their way into the tooth, always traveling toward the nerve. The nerve lies within the center of each tooth and shares the hollow space with blood vessels. A cavity begins causing symptoms when it is close enough for bacterial toxins to reach the nerve and cause inflammation. That, my friends, is a big cavity. A cavity that is big enough to cause pain is usually too big for a simple filling. Often a cavity that causes pain requires not only a dental crown, but also a root canal treatment to remove the inflamed or infected nerve.
In addition to the pain, there is significant expense attached to this situation.
The pain of a tooth crack is the result of inflammation of the nerve within the tooth. Sometimes this inflammation is reversible, with repair and coverage of the crack by a dental crown. Sometimes it is not, and the tooth requires a root canal to stop the pain.
Cracks in their earliest stages may not cause any symptoms at all. They could cause some minor cold sensitivity or mild tenderness on chewing that people write off as “no big deal”. Cracks that cause sharp pain every time you bite are past the early stages. If you can actually feel the crack with your tongue, it is significant and likely carries a hopeless prognosis (meaning no treatment will save the tooth).
Damage from Grinding
Teeth clenching or grinding, called bruxism, slowly causes significant damage over time. When someone consistently clenches or grinds the teeth, it leaves visible signs on the inside of the mouth that your dentist will notice. Waiting until you notice that your teeth look shorter or have jagged, chipped edges means you’ve waited too long.
You can prevent damage from grinding by wearing a protective nightguard. The cost of a nightguard is less than the cost of repair a single tooth. Usually, the damage occurs on more than one tooth, so the value of the maintenance and prevention here is exponential!
Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is often called “silent” because it causes very few symptoms for the patient to notice. When left alone, gum disease can quietly progress to loose teeth with a very poor prognosis. It is possible for this process to occur with absolutely zero pain. This is especially true for patients who use tobacco and those with diabetes.
Without consistent professional teeth cleanings and gum measurements, you cannot be sure of your gum health.
Now Are You Ready for a Dental Visit?
Call 940-382-1750 today to schedule a dental appointment with Dr. Chowning. He will thoroughly evaluate your current state, catch any early signs of dental problems, and give you options to treat them. Don’t wait until something bothers you!
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