Be True to Your Teeth, or They’ll be False to Your Health
Most people understand the basic importance of going to the dentist for regular checkups. However, Dr Nancy Halsema – Carmel Dentist says that some of the most important reasons to go to the dentist have more to do with the quality of your health than with the quality of your smile. Still, a healthy smile depends on making regular trips to the dentist. Like with a car, in order for your teeth and gums to stay in top working condition, they need to be serviced using techniques and tools that aren’t available at home.
Plaque removal can stave off gingivitis and tooth decay
One of the reasons that people should make sure to schedule an appointment with their dentist every six months is to remove the tough plaque that forms over the teeth and on the gum line. Plaque is the result of bacterial colonization of your teeth and gums. It is a way for large numbers of bacteria to form protected colonies that, as a result of a calcified shell, cannot be easily removed.
Unfortunately, even though good oral hygiene can remove most bacteria and debris from the mouth, even the best brushing and flossing habits cannot avoid the eventual accumulation of plaque. Dentists use highly specialized tools, including scrapers and high-speed motorized brushes that are powerful enough to remove all of the plaque from the teeth and gums.
It is extremely important that this plaque be removed on a regular basis. Allowing it to remain on the teeth or gums will lead to decay of the enamel and gingivitis. If left untreated, these conditions will progress to tooth decay and periodontitis, both of which will eventually lead to tooth loss.
But there are other, even more important reasons to see your dentist on a regular basis. Cavities in hard to see places, such as on 3rd molars, can lead to severe decay of the tooth. This can eventually cause an abscess, where the root of the tooth has died and been colonized by large amounts of bacteria. A tooth abscess is a dangerous medical condition that can quickly lead to severe infections, bone loss and even death. Once a tooth becomes abscessed, without an emergency extraction, the infection will only get worse. Before modern medicine, tooth abscesses were one reason that people’s life expectancy was so low. Without extraction of the tooth, the abscess usually led to death.
The good news is that dentists have the ability to prevent tooth abscesses from ever forming, even in the case of severely decayed teeth. Procedures such as root canals can seal off exposed roots, allowing the patient to keep their tooth without worrying about the formation of infection. In the worst cases of decay, a tooth may be extracted before an abscess has formed. But even in these cases, modern dentistry has the ability to replace crucial teeth, including through the use of prosthetics and implants.
If you haven’t been staying on top of your dental appointments, schedule one today!