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The Dangers and Costs of Hidden Dental Problems

hidden dental problems
Published By Dr. Rachel Hall at 21 March, 2023

Many people are living with hidden dental problems that if left undetected can end up causing pain, infection, poor health and lots of dental expenses. Hidden dental problems can be detected and diagnosed during regular dental check-ups and then treated early to prevent them from becoming major issues and major costs to your health and your wallet.

Dental Check-Ups and Hidden Dental Issues

Many people who attend a dental examination will often say they have no problems, they are just looking to have their teeth checked and cleaned. Sadly, too often we find these patients have a number of decaying teeth and bone rotting away due to gum infections.

The human body is very good at resisting bacterial infection. As such, it does not show sensitivity or pain until the infections have started to invade the nerve of the tooth or until the infection overwhelms the supporting gums and bone.

Like heart disease you are oblivious to the fact that you have an issue until you either have a heart attack or if you are fortunate it is picked up during a medical exam or screening.

But why wait until you have a heart attack, or in the case of your teeth and mouth a toothache until you have your problem addressed and treated?

Regular Dental Check-Ups How Often Should You See The Dentist?

At Evolve Holistic Dental Kenmore, we like to see our patients on a regular 6 monthly basis. This way, we can prevent hidden dental problems before they spiral into severe issues. The only way issues like decay, cracked teeth, failing dental work, gum disease, wisdom teeth infections and more can be detected is by a visit to a dentist, which is why it is not advisable to restrict check-ups to those moments where you have sensitivity or a toothache or some other noticeable symptom.

Because by the time you have symptoms, it is too late to deal with things simply and affordably.

Unlike obvious physical ailments, like a broken arm, many dental problems are entirely invisible and symptomless. There is no pain until the issue has become serious and you need more invasive and possibly expensive major dental work to correct it.

When it comes to dentistry, you never want to ‘wait and see.’ Once symptoms have appeared, it is often too late for minor fixes. And the options at your dentist’s disposal are drastically reduced.

That means you may have to undergo a procedure your dentist would normally have been able to save you from needing.

That’s not a situation either of you needs to be in.

Either way, the treatment will be painless and comfortable. But, you may well have to spend more time and/or more visits and more money at the dentist the more severe the problem is.

Hidden Problems Cause Significant Dental Issues

By the time you present with a toothache, you have had decay, a crack or a hole in your tooth for quite a period of time. Toothache doesn’t just happen overnight – no it’s been brewing for some time…

By the time you have toothache things are too far gone for a simple dental fix as by now the bacteria have already eaten the whole way to the nerve of the tooth.

You may require root canal therapy if you wish to save the tooth or an extraction and an implant to replace it.

Before the toothache appeared, you would have ignored some sensitivity to hot and cold or chewing. These can be early symptoms of decay or minor infection, which can be treated with a small filling or a minimally invasive procedure.

An extraction and subsequent dental implant are obviously expensive and invasive treatments. After a root canal treatment, the tooth is weakened due to the deep decay. The tooth will require a crown, which leads to a significant dental bill and increased costs.

With regular dental checks, these hidden and symptomless issues can be detected and treated early saving you time, money and unnecessary pain or suffering.

As you can see, a spot of decay can quickly spiral out of control. You have no idea that your teeth are slowly decaying, and those missed check-ups mean your dentist didn’t have the opportunity to find the decay early and prevent that cavity from spreading into the nerve or root or causing the tooth to crack so that you require a complete extraction.

Why lose a tooth or endure pain and expense when it could have been avoided?

The Silent Killer – The March of Gum Disease

Perhaps the most serious invisible dental problem is gum disease.

Gum disease affects the majority of adults and is particularly prominent in the middle-aged population. In fact studies report 90% of the population is suffering from gum infection to varying degrees right now.

Most sufferers will have reached the middle-age part of their life only having suffered some bleeding on brushing and/or some bad breath, which has not needed any substantial dental intervention, and they have probably feel that they are brushing pretty well and flossing occasionally with a relatively healthy dental hygiene routine.

This means they have never felt dental pain, and have never had to deal with dental problems before.

The problem with generally good dental health and only a few minor symptoms is that visits to the dentist seem unimportant and fall to the bottom of the “to do” list.

So, by the time things start to deteriorate in middle age, you are looking at severe cases of bone and gum disease that silently destroys and infects the support structures that hold your teeth in the jaw as well as the jaw bone itself, causing irreversible damage.

What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease happens when the bacteria burrow between the gum and the tooth and eat away the jaw bone. In many cases, over 50% of the bone around the tooth has been compromised before the patient realises there’s a problem at all.

Apart from puffy red gums, bleeding and symptoms related to low-grade plaque infection such as bad breath, presenting as gingivitis there is literally no way for the patient to know that the jaw bone is under attack and has rotted away.

Bone loss and gum damage can only be detected and quantified by your dentist and advanced gum issues will often need an intensive deep cleaning to attend to the issue over several visits under local anaesthesia and will then require ongoing often 3 monthly care in order to maintain health and prevent tooth loss and further infections.

Gum infections are linked to an increased risk of heart disease, strokes, diabetes, cancers, dementia and a whole host of health issues and that is why it is called the silent killer as you do not know you have this serious and deadly infection.

The Importance of Regular Check-Ups

Toothache, gum disease, tooth loss and often the need for root canal treatment can be prevented by a simple visit to the dentist every six months. These visits allow your dentist to check the general health of your teeth and gums and monitor any decay or infection.

A crucial element of these visits will be a scale and clean and advice on home care such as daily brushing, flossing and mouth rinse.

Every day, bacterial plaque forms and settles on the teeth. This plaque attracts new bacteria and this leads to both tooth decay and gum disease. If it is allowed to settle, it calcifies and turns into tartar which is impossible to remove at home. A scale and clean also includes a polish. This smooths the surfaces of your teeth and helps to prevent plaque and bacteria from binding to your teeth so easily.

Your Mouth Tells Us About Your Health

It’s not just dental problems your dentist can pick up. Your dentist is a health professional. So, they can be the first line of defence in finding other serious health problems like oral cancers, snoring and sleep apnoea.

Finding and treating both of these silent conditions early can literally save your life.

So, if you’ve been putting off that all-important dental check-up, don’t. If you wait until you feel a toothache or your mouth is sore, you’ll often find that it’s too late. Serious intervention may be the only answer to treat your pain and issues.

Evolve Dental’s active maintenance program is designed to look after the little problems before they worsen. Start your active maintenance program today, give us a call now 07 32720 1811 and we will help you to have a healthy smile for life.

  • Dr. Rachel Hall

    Dr. Rachel Hall

    Rachel is the founder and principal dentist at Evolve Dental Healing with over 30 years experience, practising holistically since 2001. Not your typical dentist, Rachel is a passionate opinion leader, challenging convention to empower people to make better dental and health choices, helping thousands to have healthy natural smiles. A respected writer and presenter on holistic dentistry, health and wellness it is Rachel’s mission to revolutionise the way people look at their dental health.

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