7 Bad things that can happen if you put off dental treatment
Many of us put off going to the dentist because we fear we’ll need dental treatment, but sticking your head in the sand when it comes to your teeth is a really bad idea.
Whether it’s the pain or expense you’re scared of (or both!), ignoring problems in your mouth will only lead to more pain and greater expense down the line. There can also be some serious side effects to putting off dental treatment. Here are 7 compelling reasons to make that appointment…
You might get an infection
If you have had a badly broken tooth for a while it’s likely that the live tissue, known as the tooth pulp, is exposed. The pulp contains nerves and blood vessels and aids in the sensory function of the tooth. If it’s exposed to the outside environment it can easily become painful and inflamed and develop an infection. Since everyone is different, the time scale varies a lot; you may have no bother for months, despite the tooth being in bad shape, but then wake up one day with pain and swelling.
Tooth infections are not easy to treat, even with antibiotics, and in rare cases can be serious. Because of the proximity of large arteries and veins, it’s possible for the infection to spread to vital organs like the brain, so nipping it in the bud is vital.
You could lose teeth
Let’s say you start with a small cavity or maybe a chipped or fractured tooth. If you sought treatment straight away it could easily be fixed with a discreet white filling, no-prep veneer or same-day CEREC crown.
If, on the other hand, you decide to leave it, a small cavity will develop into a big one. A broken tooth can start to crumble away, while a fracture can spread to the root. The result? You might have to have your tooth removed. And if you don’t like the gap, you’ll need a bridge or an implant, which is more costly than immediate treatment would have been.
You could miss early warning signs
Rough, broken teeth can rub and cause irritation to your cheeks, often causing ulcers. If you have a tooth problem you’re ignoring, you might also dismiss an ulcer in your mouth. But you shouldn’t. They can be a sign of something more serious.
A mouth ulcer that doesn’t heal within 14 days is actually one of the most common signs of head and neck cancer. People who smoke and drink regularly are especially at risk. During a routine full mouth examination your dentist will perform an oral cancer screening check and spot early signs of oral cancer, giving you the best chance of recovery.
You may develop bad breath
Crooked teeth, damaged fillings, bridges or partial dentures that no longer fit can all lead to a build-up of bacterial deposits called plaque. And plaque can lead to gum disease and gingivitis. Signs of gingivitis include red and puffy gums that bleed easily when you brush your teeth.
You might also find that people start to avoid you because you have bad breath. Halitosis is a common side effect of gum disease and tooth decay. The bacteria causes an unpleasant odour in the mouth, which you may not be able to mask with mouthwash or gum.
Your teeth could become loose
Gum disease doesn’t just cause bleeding gums and bad breath; if left untreated the gum disease will spread to the underlying bone which supports your teeth.
This happens because the bacteria gradually eats away at the underlying jawbone and the periodontal ligaments that connect the tooth to the bone. This can cause teeth to loosen or fall out and even lead to facial deformity and premature skin wrinkling. This typically happens over years and because you may not have any pain, you may not be aware you have gum disease until you lose teeth.
You’ll increase your risk of developing many diseases
Studies show that people with gum disease and tooth decay are more likely to suffer from other health problems. These include heart disease, diabetes, dementia, respiratory problems and certain types of cancer.
While the link between tooth health and some of these diseases is not fully understood, it’s known that the bacteria within plaque can spread to other areas of the body. Additionally, keeping your teeth functioning properly is important so that you can maintain a healthy diet, which contributes to your overall health.
Teeth can become worn down
If you have problems with your bite that you do nothing about, it will put extra stress and strain on your teeth. A consequence of this is that the enamel becomes worn. This can cause a number of problems, ranging from painful sensitivity, through to discoloration as the yellow dentin within the teeth become visible.
As the edges of the teeth become rough and jagged, chips and cracks can occur in the teeth. Or you might find that you start to get jaw pain and headaches – as the whole eating system is no longer in harmony. In time, you might even struggle to eat.
Don’t put it off, make an appointment today!
No one wants to be dealing with the problems above – especially if you’re not keen on going to the dentist. Complex dental issues require complex treatment, meaning more time in the chair and more money extracted from your wallet.
If you know (or suspect) your mouth needs attention, do something about it now. Your future self will thank you! Here at Ocean Dental Marbella, we offer some of the most advanced technology on the coast. That means we can treat you with minimal discomfort and manageable costs. If you are worried about the pain or affordability of treatment, why not talk to us about IV sedation or payment plans? Contact us for an appointment on 951 775 518.