…an explanation to a common misconception.
None of my teeth hurt. Why is it so important I visit the dentist?
“The Sleeping Giant”
Have you gone years without visiting your dentist? Have you asked yourself why you should visit the dentist if you take care of your teeth and don’t have any pain? Isn’t dental work very expensive?
There is no simple answer to how often you should seek care from your dental provider; guidelines and recommendation are made on a case by case basis. There are many patients that do an excellent job maintaining their oral health, but without the help of a dental professional there is no way to correct what we call “the sleeping giant.”
The sleeping giant is small decay that begins in between your teeth from food build up and acid production by bacteria breaking down that food.
Initially the decay is very incipient and small, but as time progresses the decay moves through the enamel and into the inner layer of the tooth called the dentin. All the while, this process does not cause pain and you may never know it is going on. The dentin layer is not nearly as hard and resistant to bacteria as the enamel layer, so when decay approaches this layer it begins to progress in a snow ball type fashion. If the decay advances into the dentin layer, the term “awakening a sleeping giant” starts to apply. Pain will likely ensue, and the result may be much more costly and damaging to your teeth than compared to early preventative treatment.
Problems Beyond Just Cavities
Dental decay is not the only thing that should be evaluated every 6 months. Larger health concerns such as oral and pharyngeal (throat) cancer, risk of sleep apnea and other systemic conditions are all very important to regularly check for.
Our primary mission is to treat our patients as a whole person and not just their dental needs. Many healthy young people see their dentist more often than their primary care physician, therefore it can be vital for us to provide you with a larger outlook on your overall health. Our goal is to make sure we catch disease and decay early, which benefits our patients both medically and financially.
Better Safe Than Sorry – And Why Not?
Don’t forget your insurance provider covers 100% of regular exams. On average, patients who catch decay early save $200-300. Why you may ask? Think about it from an insurance perspective: they hope the dental provider catches smaller issues early so they are not providing partial coverage for larger treatment down the road. Instead of forgoing the benefits you are being provided, take advantage of them.
For more articles on dental decay and prevention visit the CDC at: https://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/publications/articles/index.htm