Why do I need to see a dentist if my teeth don’t hurt?

Dental problems are virtually all preventable and identifiable by your dentist early on and even before you are aware of their presence. However they will only hurt you when they have progressed to much larger problems. You want to find the little problems before they become large enough for us to find ourselves. Fractures in teeth with large, old fillings are often visible long before a tooth falls apart. Likewise, a small area of caries (cavity forming decay) will make itself known to you only when it is deep enough to irritate the tooth’s nerve (often indicating the need for a root canal procedure) or weaken a cusp (corner of a tooth) causing it to fracture off. These are easy to detect when they are in the beginning stages.

Periodontal (gum) problems show early as chronic gum inflammation with bleeding and deep pockets (gingivitis). When it reaches the stage of periodontal disease, there is irreversible gum recession with infection, permanent bone loss and loosening of what may be perfectly healthy teeth. Ninety five percent of what is needed to keep your teeth and mouth healthy is simple maintenance which includes diligent home care and routine dental office hygiene. The other five percent of help needed is what you dental office provides, unless you let it get away from you. This is where the old saying comes from “ignore your teeth and they will go away”!

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