We hear a lot about prevention when it comes to our health. When it comes to our teeth and oral health, prevention can play a role in not just saving our teeth but also time and money in the dental chair. Most people think the dentist is just trying to get their money by having them come in two times a year for checkups and cleanings but nothing could be further from the truth.
The Spread of Decay
It’s important to detect decay early. A clear but sticky substance called plaque is always forming on the teeth and gums. Plaque contains bacteria that feeds on sugar that is in your food. That is why you should definitely minimize the amount of sugar you have in your diet. Soft drinks, candy and processed foods that contain sugar are notorious for increasing the plaque on the teeth.
As the bacteria feed on the sugars, they create acid. The acids attack the teeth for up to 20 minutes or more after you eat and eat away at the enamel of the tooth causing decay.
Energy Drinks And Oral Health
Another common culprit of decay that most people don’t think about is energy drinks. People are drinking more energy drinks than ever before and some brands are even consumed now more than coffee. These energy drinks are highly acidic and eat away at the enamel of the tooth. It is best if you can stay away from these types of drinks but if you just have to have one, it would be wise to limit the amount that you do drink.
What Are The Symptoms of Decay?
Tooth decay usually doesn’t display symptoms until there is a cavity or a tooth becomes infected. When this occurs, you will usually have one of the following:
- Swollen gums or abscesses
- Bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth
- Spots on the teeth of various colors where the decay is occurring
If you have a toothache, you need to come in right away. Pain is a sign that a problem exists, and if you let it go, it can lead to more extensive treatment and costs.
Many times, decay can be seen externally but in order to really see what is going on with the teeth, digital x-rays are necessary. This gives the doctor and his team a better overall view of your teeth and helps determine the best treatment option.
Treatment options for decayed teeth range anywhere from simple fillings to extractions. Extractions are always the last resort as our goal is always to do our best to save the tooth. In some instances, this may require a root canal and then a crown placed on the tooth.
Don’t worry about hearing the words “root canal.” We know for some that it has a negative connotation. However, root canals are designed to get you out of pain and with current numbing techniques and sedation, you most likely will not feel anything.
Prevention helps us detect things before they get out of hand and ultimately costs you more money. It’s better to keep up with those cleanings and exams than to have to have a root canal and crown done because you didn’t.
If you haven’t had an exam or cleaning in a while, then give us a call and set up an appointment right away. Don’t procrastinate as it could mean the difference between minor treatment and costs or major procedures with associated costs.