Prevention Is Better Than Cure
Posted on: Thursday, April 3rd, 2014
Regular dental check-ups can help bring a few lurking signs of impending oral conditions to notice so that preventive measures can be taken. During your regular check-ups your dentist will be able to check for conditions in the mouth that may put you at risk of developing any tooth decay, gum disease, etc. (Read: 8 tips for teeth that last for life)
One such risk factor is tartar or calculus (mineralised plaque) which is detrimental for the health of your teeth and gums. It cannot be easily removed even after you follow all the oral hygiene measures like brushing and flossing.Professional scaling or cleaning is the only way these mineralised deposits can be removed. (Read: Flossing – top 10 facts you should know)
Other risk factors like dry mouth, improper position of teeth, faulty or irritating tooth fillings and dentures, partially impacted wisdom tooth, missing teeth, etc. may be identified and corrected to prevent cavities and/or gum disease, etc. If you are very susceptible to cavities your dentist may also apply protective coatings like dental sealants or fluoride gel on the grooves and fissures of your teeth to prevent decay. (Read: Why you shouldn’t wait for pain to treat a cavity)
A stitch in time saves nine
The earlier the problems like cavities, gum disease, oral cancer, etc. are detected and promptly treated, the simpler the treatment procedures and the better the outcome.
Regular dental check-ups will diagnose such problems in the early stages and help nip them in the bud. If detected early, the initial signs of cavity can be reversed by re-calcification of enamel with fluoride treatment. But if left untreated, it can get larger and affect the dentin and pulp of the tooth. You will then need to get it either filled or get a root canal treatment (RCT) done followed by a restoration of the tooth with a crown. The tooth may also become so damaged that it would be beyond repair needing it to be extracted. (Read: When roots of the teeth are affected by decay)
Non-surgical methods like deep scaling or cleaning are enough to treat mild to moderate forms of gum disease. But advanced gum diseases will need surgery. In case of oral cancer, early detection followed by appropriate treatment is very important for increasing survival rate and improving the quality of life.
Avoid unnecessary complications
Early detection through regular dental check-ups can help avoid a host of complications. If a decayed tooth is not identified and treated accordingly, it may cause an abscess (pus) around the roots of the tooth which can leave you with one of the worst dental pains ever. The bacterial infection from the abscess can spread and cause complications like a dental cyst (fluid-filled cavity),sinusitis, osteomyelitis (infection of the bone) or sepsis (infection throughout the body). Rarely, it can also cause potentially fatal conditions like Ludwig’s angina (swelling and intense pain under the tongue and in the neck) and cavernous sinus thrombosis (blood clot in a large vein at the base of the brain). (Read: Do you clean between your teeth?)
Most of the times, you may have no symptoms of gum disease until it has reached advanced stages. In fact it may be too late when you have one. The supporting structures in the gums may be destroyed and detached from the tooth. There may be pus formation and destruction of bone supporting the tooth ultimately leading to tooth loss. A regular check-up will detect gum problems early and help avoid such complications.
Light on your wallet too!
Regular dental check-ups can help you save money on your dental expenses! Treatments for early stages of oral health problemsare simple and less expensive.Treating a dental problem in its advanced stage will require complicated procedures and will cost you more too. A simple filling or scaling will any day cost you much lesser than a root canal treatment or surgery.
Might just save your life!
During your routine dental check-up, your dentist is not just concerned about saving your teeth. He/she may look for important clues from your mouth about your overall health like nutritional deficiencies, stress, measles, eating disorder, etc. Certain signs and symptoms in the mouth could help detect conditions elsewhere in the body. Cancer at the base of the tongue, at the back of the throat, in the tonsils or in the soft palate may be linked with HPV infection. Patches of abnormal tissue grow under inside lining of the mouth and throat could suggest Kaposi’s sarcoma. Other cancers that may be recognized include skin cancer, cancer of the jaw bone and thyroid cancer. (Read: 10 interesting facts about the microbes in your mouth)
So, give up making excuses and don’t miss that appointment with your dentist.