People once only visited a dentist when something was wrong. Today, the American Dental Association recommends biannual checkups and cleanings as a preventative measure to having to come in for an emergency, but many people still only seek dental care when they have a problem. Unfortunately, waiting to see a dentist until you have symptoms could reduce your options for conservative treatment and increase your need for emergency dental services.
Many dental problems start quietly. You may not notice any symptoms or small symptoms that do not seem worrisome. They can be easy to ignore, but a routine exam can identify and help stop the problem before it has a chance to worsen. Gum disease may start with swollen, reddened gums or gums that bleed when you floss. At this stage, gingivitis is largely reversible. However, if the infection continues unchecked, it can destroy the bone and gum tissue, which can ultimately lead to tooth loss. At this stage, the damage cannot be reversed, but it can be treated and managed.
Early tooth decay may have no obvious symptoms. If a spot of decay is caught immediately, treatments can begin to harden and remineralize the enamel, which can actually stop the decay process in its tracks. Small fillings can also be used to fill any damaged areas. Once a cavity has become symptomatic, it has often reached into the delicate pulp of the tooth and may require a root canal treatment, as well as the application of a porcelain crown to prevent further damage.
At a routine checkup, our team looks for these issues, as well as any abnormal plaque and tartar buildup, oral sores or infections, abnormal spots that could indicate the presence of oral cancer and bad breath. We can recommend appropriate treatments for preventive and restorative purposes, and we can help you get your dental health back. Call us to learn more or to schedule a routine appointment.