People tend to put things off when it’s something they really don’t want to do. This can be changing the oil in a car, taking the dog out in a blizzard, failing to patch the roof. After all, what’s the harm? If it’s not causing an issue right now, it isn’t urgent, right?
Of course, when the car engine blows, or the dog makes a mess, the roof springs a leak, you wish you had been more pro-active. The same concept holds true for visiting your dentist. Dr. Brian Weyneth reminds us: “We assume since our teeth don’t hurt, that they are fine – even if there are plenty of reasons we should pick up the phone and schedule that appointment.” Dr. Lydia Sosenko, echoes his advice “Regular cleanings and checkups are more important than you think. Your oral health is a huge part of your overall health!” Preventive dental care is much better than emergency dental treatment.
If you wait until your teeth hurt, you could be missing early warning signs that there is a problem. By failing to catch tooth and gum issues early, you end up having to have complex dental procedures with higher costs and much more discomfort than necessary.
The top three risks of waiting until your tooth hurts are as follows:
- Massive tooth decay.
All cavities start out small, but a small area of decay can soon get out of control. A small cavity may not hurt – but when the decay reaches the tooth’s pulp, the pain starts – but by then the tooth is badly damaged and may be beyond repair. What could have been taken care of with a simple, inexpensive filling turns into a root canal and a crown – or even an extraction and the need for a bridge or implant. Both options are far more costly and uncomfortable than simply having a checkup and filling the tooth would have been!
When your tooth hurts, it can mean that some nerve endings are exposed, or it could mean that there is an infection! Having regular dental checkups can keep your gums and teeth form developing pockets in which bacteria can multiply. By the time your tooth hurts, the infection is often so severe that the dentist may not even be able to help you right away – a full course of antibiotics will have to be completed first. This delay can allow the condition to worsen, leading to more discomfort and more costly solutions when you finally are able to get treatment.
As we’ve established, but the time your teeth begin to hurt, the underlying cause of the pain is often well advanced. When wisdom teeth fail to appear by age 25, many people shrug it off and go on with their lives. However, unerupted wisdom teeth can cause major problems, and by the time they start hurting, the damage can be done. The most common issue with wisdom teeth is impaction, when they try to erupt through the gum but there isn’t enough room in the mouth. The tooth gets jammed against the one next to it, and the jaw becomes inflamed. In more severe cases, the wisdom tooth can turn sideways and burrow into the molar next to it, drilling a hole down to the pulp and requiring the extraction of both the wisdom tooth and the molar. Having your dentist perform regular checkups and x-rays means that wisdom tooth issues can be discovered and resolved before serious damage is done.
In all of the above cases, preventive dental care could have prevented the issue or resolved it before it became a serious problem. Regular checkups, x-rays and cleanings are the best way to avoid serious dental emergencies, call our Naperville family dentists, Dr. Lydia Sosenko and Dr. Bryan Weyneth before your tooth starts to hurt!