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To decide if it's time for a visit to the dentist it is first necessary to understand some of the disease processes that dentists diagnose, treat, and prevent.


Cavities begin just under the surface of the tooth or between an old filling and the tooth. At this point the tooth will generally not be sore. The treatment options will be the simplest, least expensive and most comfortable.


This condition is not going to get better or stay the same. The cavity will get bigger and deeper and the tooth will begin to get sore. A simple "filling" may no longer be possible, treatment will generally be more complex, with more expense and discomfort.


Gum disease destroys the bone that supports the teeth and attaches them to the jaw. Unlike decay, where the dentist cleans away the decay and replaces the lost part of the tooth, the lost bone can not be replaced. Successful treatment depends on preventing future bone loss while there is still enough left.


The process begins with a soft build-up (plaque) forming on the teeth. If not removed with dental floss and a toothbrush it hardens, your dentist or dental hygienist must then remove it for you. This hard build-up (calculus) causes the irreplaceable bone to be lost. Frequently, there is no pain, the first and only sign of a problem comes too late, when a tooth becomes loose or falls out.


Full denture wearers do not get decay or gum disease. However, changes to the dentures over time can affect the function of the jaws and need to be watched. More importantly it is necessary to periodically check the health of the tissues of the mouth, particularly for early detection of mouth cancer.



Most dental disease is preventable and pain is not a good indicator that it is present. If you aware of something wrong in your mouth it is time to visit the dentist. If you are not experiencing any problems but: you have never been to a dentist; you can not honestly say you have been to a dentist recently; or at your last dental appointment a time for your next visit was recommended and it has since come and gone it is time to visit the dentist.


Prevention is not a one time treatment but an ongoing lifetime of home and professional care. The recall appointments necessary to prevent dental problems usually include an examination, radiographs (if indicated), removal of any calculus (hard deposits on the teeth), and possibly a polishing and fluoride treatment.



Many of us call these recall appointments "the six month check up" but there are people who need to be seen more often than every six months, others may need to be seen less often. The dental health basis for the timing of your recall appointments is typically your gum disease status, how well you brush and floss your teeth each day, and how rapidly calculus (hard deposits) accumulates on your teeth. The need to monitor existing fillings, your susceptibility to decay and a few other conditions may also influence your individual recall schedule.


It can be tempting to go longer than recommended between appointments due to budgetary, dental insurance and other non-health related considerations, or simply because "nothing hurts". Unfortunately the damage caused by avoiding appropriate prevention may not be obvious for years until extensive, expensive, less desirable treatment becomes unavoidable.


The proper timing of your recall schedule should be determined, with consideration for your own individual circumstances.


If it’s time, please call today to attend to any dental problem you are aware of or to arrange a dental examination and professional cleaning.