When Things Go South
Here’s why regular visits to the Dentist make sense:
With 34 years of experience, I can tell you that what I have seen is that technology and research in all aspects of dentistry has gotten better and better.
• We are imaging better with the 3 dimensional cone beam technology
• Simple x-rays have gone digital with less radiation and better 2 dimensional detail
• We use intraoral cameras to vizualize pathology and fractures of the teeth
• We can even screen for oral cancer easily with newer light technology visualizing abnormalities in the gum tissue.
But with all this technology and flood of new materials and techniques, we still can’t save all teeth. Why is this a problem?
Waiting ‘Til It Hurts
As dentists, we can only help our patients if they come in!
In adults, decay and gum disease can either be slow or quick and there is no way to determine. Regular visits are so important as a simple filling or a cleaning and exam with x-rays are minimal as compared to major work when decay or gum disease gets too far. The fees escalate exponentially.
Children’s teeth tend to go south quicker, especially when simple x-rays are not taken or refused by a parent.
Did you know that with digital x-rays and the protectant shields that cover the body and the thyroid, the reduction of the radiation is significantly reduced ( up to 80% reduction than the conventional dental x-rays)!
I have seen children’s teeth go south in a year’s time. When I mean south, I mean a simple decay can get into the nerve and either a baby root canal is needed or the tooth has to be extracted and a spacer placed between the teeth to keep the space for the permanent tooth that will eventually erupt into place.
Not all dental work lasts a life time
Fillings and crowns can eventually leak and cause further destruction to a tooth. In other words dental work even the best and the most expensive can fail. Why does this happen?
Sometimes it depends on the immune system and the health of the individual. Sometimes it is the upkeep and the ability of the patient to maintain the health of the oral cavity. Sometimes it is genetics or medical issues that can cause the teeth and gums to go south. The rule of thumb seems to be, the more restorations and hardware you have in your mouth, the more maintenance is needed by the patient and the professional. As we have seen with 40 plus years of placing implants, even implants can eventually fail.
We also thought that root canals were close to 100% successful but over time, they can also fail.
Why do teeth die?
There are many reasons for this. The number 1 reason is that decay has traveled deep into the tooth and the bacteria has gotten into the nerve and blood system of the tooth. This can be years after a filling or crown has been placed or it can happen in weeks. Sometimes you just can’t predict. When this happens, you have two choices: a root canal or extraction. The number 2 reason could be clenching or grinding habits that may damage or fracture a tooth and expose the nerve.
Other reasons why teeth die vary due to the size of the restoration, the habits of the patient, the genetics of the patient, stealth bacteria and viruses. Sometimes there just isn’t a good reason why a tooth dies.
The Good news…
I believe that with proper health, nutrition, maintenance and professional care and guidance, teeth and gums can last a long long time, a lifetime. But it takes work and a partnership between the patient and the dentist.
Is it time for a checkup? Contact Dr. John Rothchild to schedule your appointment at: 970.382.7780