A toothache may feel like it popped up overnight but believe it or not, that usually is not the case. The most common toothache seen at our office is created by decay that has been left too long. Early detection would call for a filling with aftercare use of Clinpro 5000 toothpaste for extra protection instead of a root canal and crown, the treatment when a cavity grows too big. "X-rays" or radiographs are used to "see" areas on the teeth, gums and jaw bones that can not be seen with a visual examination.
Toothaches are obvious indicators of an issue but along with the toothache, signs of infection don’t show up overnight either. X-rays may show abnormalities such as infection that are simply hanging out, waiting to strike as seen below. The patient didn't "feel" anything wrong with those teeth but leaving the infection could result in a painful toothache or more permanent consequences like bone loss and tooth loss.
We here at Avalon Dental promote prevention rather than treatment. We would rather prevent a root canal than treat one that wouldn't have been necessary 6 months ago. As a new patient, a full mouth set of x-rays are taken in order to establish a base line and to diagnose any existing conditions. A full mouth set of x-rays is taken about every 3 to 5 years to give an updated in depth view of the mouth as a whole. Every year a set of four "bitewing" x-rays are taken. Bitewings (the first example above) are a valuable tool in detecting cavities and bone loss. We love educating patients about their teeth so feel free to ask us to show you what we see on your next set of x-rays.
Dental Topics: Prevention Through Education
The field of dentistry has benefitted greatly from the advancements in materials and technologies to help promote good oral health. Yet as a dentist myself, I've seen that my profession has embraced these new technologies at the risk of spending less time promoting "prevention through education." The truth is the healthiest mouths are not the mouths of the wealthiest people, but rather the mouths of educated people. This blog is my effort to educate the public and promote good oral health.