Should I Wait Until It Hurts?

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I often hear my patients say, “Nothing hurts, so everything in my mouth must be good.”  This is a common misconception.  Most problems in the mouth do not hurt and to wait until something hurts in order to treat it makes treatment more difficult and more expensive.

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Periodontal disease is not something that you often feel or recognize.  Signs of periodontal disease include bleeding or sore gums, bad breath, and receding gums.  Many people do not recognize these signs and attribute them to other things, such as brushing too hard.  Often times pain does not appear until there is a periodontal abscess involved or teeth become loose.  Gum disease can be reversed if treated in its earliest stages.

Cavities in teeth often are not painful until the decay has reached the nerve of the tooth.  At that time, a root canal and crown are most likely the restorative choices to save the teeth.  If the cavity had been treated before that time, a filling could have been placed which is a fraction of the cost and time involved.

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Cracks in teeth are also a silent intruder of the mouth.  To wait until these cracks approach the nerve make restoration more involved and less predictable, often resulting in the loss of the tooth.  This, again, is a more costly and time consuming outcome.

Having dental and periodontal examinations typically twice a year, and x-rays at least every 2 years, are a way to catch diseases of the mouth early.  Early detection allows for a more predictable, less costly and less time consuming result.

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