No Pain Doesn’t Mean No Problem

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No Pain Doesn’t Mean No Problem
No Pain Doesn’t Mean No Problem

How often have you heard the term “If it doesn’t hurt then don’t do anything”? Or do you have the mindset that believes that this is true in all aspects of life?  Although there are many scenarios in life where this can certainly be applied, your oral health is not one of them.  If you’re told there is a concern with your teeth it isn’t something you should take lightly.  Things can progress quickly and although we do advise our patients of the best course of action and alternative options, leaving it until it hurts or bothers you can change the type of treatment that was initially recommended.

Why No Pain Doesn’t Mean No Problem…

We have seen this happen countless times and the assumption is always made that the original treatment we recommended can then be done once discomfort is experienced. This isn’t always true. A good example of this is when a cavity or decay is diagnosed. If a cavity is left to progress until pain occurs, what was once a conservative filling may now become a larger restoration. If pain is now experienced it may be a sign of being too close to the nerve which can also lead to infection and other concerns. A much larger filling, root canal, crown or even extraction may be necessary depending on how much the tooth has decayed.

It is best to fill or restore a cavity when it is small. Parents will often ask us if there’s a point to fill a cavity on a child’s tooth. This will depend on many factors such as when the child will be losing the tooth and of course if there is any discomfort. When a cavity is found in a child’s tooth it is best to be restored or filled as soon as possible. Children’s teeth are not meant to be in a person’s mouth for a long time so unfortunately the make-up of the enamel in a child’s tooth is very different than that of an adult. Their teeth are much more porous so when decay is present it will progress more rapidly so it is best to fill these teeth as soon as they are diagnosed unless advised otherwise by your dental professional.

Another diagnosis that is often overlooked in dentistry is the presence of periodontal disease. The term periodontal disease refers to disease related to the gums including gingivitis which is the inflammation of the gums. When you do your homecare routine and floss do you have any bleeding or soreness? Have you been told that you have inflamed gums? During hygiene appointments your hygienist will often ask you about your oral health care routine and the response we often get when it comes to flossing is that “I bleed when I floss.” So how significant is it to know that you have gum disease and do what you can to treat it? Just like our previous example with cavities the presence of gum disease should not be taken lightly. If gum disease is present it will often be recommended that you see your hygienist every 3 to 4 months. This allows us to remove the bacteria causing the inflammation if this is something you cannot do at home. Unfortunately with gum disease pain or discomfort does not occur until it is too late. It is the silent killer in dentistry. When discomfort is experienced it often results in more invasive bacteria removal and treatment or even worse, removal of the tooth.

Another dental concern that is often left untreated is the replacement of missing teeth. There’s a reason why we have two arches with the exact same number of teeth. This is to ensure things are kept in maximum function and balance. When a tooth is missing this throws off the balance of the mouth. Other teeth begin shifting or try to grow in the place where the missing tooth is. This is a concern as this will often affect your ability to bite and chew comfortably. Having missing teeth also affects the other teeth as the teeth in the surrounding area will now have to take on a heavier load when you chew or grind. It is best to replace missing teeth as soon as possible to preserve the integrity of the bone. The options for replacing missing teeth are dental implant or a dental bridge.

As your Mississauga dentist we hope we have provided you with tips on when it is important to seek treatment. We want to provide you with information that will help you make the best choices when it comes to your oral health. If you have any questions or concerns please contact our office and one of our team members will be happy to help. You can reach us at (905) 278-4297. We look forward to helping you achieve the goal of optimal oral health!!!