Why You Shouldn’t Wait Until It Hurts
Many people avoid going to the dentist on a regular basis and wait until they are in a significant amount of pain before making an appointment. Their dental visit becomes centered around the cause of this pain and eliminating it. By that point, the condition causing the pain has already escalated a decent amount and may be harder to treat. The best approach to optimal oral health is to visit the dentist before you are ever in pain so that possible conditions can be detected early and resolved before they even have the chance to cause you discomfort.
One of the biggest reasons why you shouldn’t wait until it hurts to seek dental treatment is because dental pain can indicate that irreversible damage has been done. With many dental conditions, such as tooth decay or gum disease, once pain begins it means a significant amount of damage has already been done. At this point, depending on how long you have been in pain and exactly how much damage has been done, your teeth may not be able to be saved and may need to be extracted. Pain is generally a signal of infection and infected teeth need to be removed.
Since pain is usually an indicator of a larger problem, waiting until you are in pain to see the dentist can also cost you financially. Filling a cavity is much cheaper than needing to have a root canal, or extraction with possible implants after. Preventative dental care, or even mild treatments, are much more cost-effective as compared to waiting until you are in pain and running the risk of needing to pay for a much more invasive treatment option.
Pain in certain areas can also be an indication of a different type of problem. For example, issues affecting your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) can exhibit themselves through pain in places other than your jaw. TMJ pain can manifests itself through headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain, and even through ear problems such as tinnitus or vertigo. It is important to not simply make assumptions based on where the pain is coming from.
In addition, some dental conditions will not cause pain despite them being detrimental to your health. An example of such condition is gum disease. Gum disease can have serious complications that can be life threatening, and it has been associated with overall health concerns such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, pregnancy complications, and many different types of cancer. Gum disease will most likely cause your gums to swell, redden, and possibly bleed, however you may not feel pain. If you solely base your dental visits around pain, then your gum disease will continue to progress and cause damage that is much harder to fix.
It is important to not let pain be your determining factor for whether or not you should visit your dentist. Generally speaking, you should visit your dentist once every six months to receive preventative care and to address any concerns you have. Routine visits with your dentist ensure that possible complications can be caught and managed before they have time to develop into larger problems.