Dental exams can help you keep your teeth for life
One of the best strategies for a lifetime of good oral health is to keep as many natural teeth as possible by visiting your dentist for a regular dental exam. Losing teeth is not an inevitable part of growing older. With preventive dental health care, it is possible to keep your pearly whites with you well into your golden years.
The earlier you start your preventive care regime, the better off you’ll be. How early is early enough? As soon as a child’s first teeth erupt he or she should have a dental exam. This will not only help protect your child’s oral health, it will set the stage for a lifetime of good dental care habits.
If you haven’t had the advantage of preventive dental care, it’s never too late to start. No matter what your age, regular dental exams can help you keep your oral health at its best.
What puts teeth at risk?
Dental diseases are serious threats to your oral health. Left unchecked or undetected, dental diseases can lead to pain, tooth loss and health issues.
Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums. Plaque is the culprit. Plaque is an invisible, sticky film that’s comprised mainly of bacteria.
Along with tooth decay and cavities, plaque can irritate your gingiva – the area of gum around the base of each tooth. This irritation causes your teeth to swell and bleed.
Gingivitis contributes to bad breath and, left untreated, can progress to gum disease.
Gum disease is one of the most common dental problems North American adults face today. It is sneaky in that it develops slowly and is often painless.
As gingivitis progresses, tiny pockets of infection form at the base of your teeth. You may notice swollen, puffy or bleeding gums, but they will likely not be sore. These pockets of infection can cause what’s know as attachment loss. At this stage, you will probably notice swelling, bleeding or a change in the colour of your gums.
Gum attachment loss breaks down the bones that hold your teeth in place causing your teeth to become loose or fall out.
Like other cancers, oral cancer is the result of abnormal cell growth in your mouth, tongue, lips or throat. These cells can damage the surrounding cells or collect to form a tumour that can spread to other areas of your mouth, neck or body.
Most often beginning in the thin cells that line your lips and the inside of your mouth, oral cancer can be life threatening if it’s not detected and treated early.
Your dentist holds the key to early detection and treatment
The sooner you get the jump on a dental disease, the easier the treatment often is.
While oral cancer does come with some signs and symptoms, such as:
- lumps, bumps or rough spots in your mouth or on your lips or tongue
- white, red or speckled patches on the inside of your mouth
- problems speaking or chewing
- a sore throat or a feeling like something is stuck in your throat
in many cases, dental disease can creep in undetected.
Here’s a list of what your dentist will be looking for at your dental exam:
- teeth that are damaged, missing or decayed
- signs of gum disease such as periodontal pockets or inflammation
- how any previous dental is holding up
- early signs of oral cancer or suspicious growths or cysts
- position of your teeth and the alignment of your bite
- signs of tooth clenching or grinding
- bleeding or inflammation
- the health and function of your temporomandibular joint and the bones of your face, jaw and mouth
Keep your oral health at its best
A dental exam is critical to your oral health and only your family dentist, Dr. Sandhu or Dr. Saby, can do it. Don’t leave your oral health to chance. By scheduling regular dental exams, you can take charge of your oral health and how long you hang on to your beautiful teeth.