Welcome to the second and final entry in our series about the importance of frequent dental visits. As we covered last week, lots of us don’t go nearly as often as we should, potentially opening us up to a whole range of issues with our dental health. This week, we’re talking about gum disease, X-rays and lymph node checks.
As we mentioned last week, plaque and tartar buildup is a possibility that sadly even the most disciplined of tooth-brushers amongst us are vulnerable to! Plaque forms in the bits of your mouth you can’t reach, which if not treated in time can harden into tartar; the main cause of gum disease. Your gum health is a major part of your overall dental health. Gum disease – otherwise known as gingivitis – causes an infection at the point where the gum is connected to the tooth, which makes the gum pull away.
Eventually, the tissue that attaches the gums to your teeth breaks down, and often only then will you notice the swelling, bleeding and soreness. By this point the gingivitis is at an advanced stage, which may make it difficult to treat without the help of a specialist. It’s exactly as unpleasant as it sounds, and it’s not unheard of for people to lose teeth at this stage. You may well need surgery or long-term medication, which are two words nobody wants to hear! It’s far easier and less painful for you to make regular visits to a dentist, as they can catch gingivitis in its early stages, which increases the chance of successful treatment.
An X-ray machine is a powerful piece of kit you probably won’t have access to normally – but your dentist will! As you might have guessed from what we said about gingivitis above, lots of dental health problems – even serious ones – aren’t obvious until their late stages. X-ray images let dentists catch these problems much earlier, and can help identify all sorts of issues that might be otherwise invisible. Things like impacted teeth, bone decay, swelling or cysts and tumours are all difficult to identify or impossible for you to identify alone. With an X-ray machine, your dentist is able to investigate your dental health far more efficiently than you are, which is just another reason to go for frequent checkups!
Expert medical help isn’t to be underestimated – after all, not everyone in the world has access to it! As well as checking for oral cancer, you dentist will also check your neck, jaw and lymph nodes – just under your jawline, in case you’re interested – for anything abnormal. Sometimes these can be an indicator of major underlying health issues, so your dentist will be able to quickly identify them and take appropriate action. Again, they don’t always hurt; it might be tricky to spot them on your own, so professional help is definitely required. Not going to the checkups can potentially put you at risk if there’s a problem with your lymph nodes. Like all diseases, what stage it’s caught at can make all the difference in how successful the treatment is!
To book an appointment you can pop into our dental clinic in Blackburn, or contact us on 01254 297 000. We look forward to hearing from you!
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Posted on: 10th May, 2017