While many people visit their dentists faithfully on a regular basis in order to have their teeth examined and cleaned, the same can't be said of everyone. If you're the type of person who only goes to get their teeth cleaned and examined when you suspect that something is wrong, you're likely waiting too long to get help. Dentists and hygienists can detect problems with your teeth and gums long before it becomes noticeable to you. Here's three things that your dentist could notice during your next cleaning that could save you a lot of problems in the long run.
Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease, which is followed by problems like periodontitis. While gingivitis is often talked about as causing problems like bleeding gums, swelling, irritation, and more, some people can have gingivitis with little to no symptoms.
This is a problem because there are few warning signs alerting the patient that there's something wrong with their gums. When this is the case, the gum disease often proceeds unabated until it becomes periodontitis, which is impossible to treat at home and requires specialized care from a dentist.
In short, don't assume that your gums are healthy just because they're not bleeding. If you haven't had a cleaning in a long time, accumulated tartar may already be making your gums sick without your knowledge.
Pre-cavities are a way of describing the earliest stage of a cavity. Before a cavity breaks through the tooth and begins breaking down the interior soft surfaces like the dentin and pulp, it starts to erode the surface of the enamel. This is harmless in the early stages, and won't cause any pain, because the nerve endings in the teeth are much deeper inside than the surface enamel.
However, while you're highly unlikely to notice that there are any issues going on here, that's not true of your dentist. When they examine your teeth, they'll be able to see the signs of early erosion and can help you to either repair the cavity or take steps to prevent it from becoming worse.
Another problem that dentists often notice that isn't noticeable to patients until too late is a loose filling. Before a filling gets to the point where it's wiggling around or partially popping out, dentists can discover fillings that look like they've lost some of their material or are starting to move around in the hole in the tooth. When found at this stage, a filling can easily be replaced or repaired. However, if you wait too long and only get help after it's completely fallen out, this can not only mean that more repairs need to be made to the tooth, but it could jumpstart the process of another cavity developing in the hole.
For more information about dental cleanings, contact a local dental office, like Family Dentistry Of Woodstock.