I’m willing to bet that most of you think of going to the dentist as a chore or at least as an inconvenience. You know it is important for your teeth and the health of your mouth to keep those appointments twice a year. But still, many of you avoid the dentist until you have pain or an injury. Now, what if I told you that going to the dentist can literally save your life? It certainly changes the perspective on that dental visit quite a bit.
As dentists, we specialize in your mouth. Not just gums and teeth either, we have to know how to examine the tissue around your neck, jaw, lips, nose, and head. All of these systems interrelate. We can tell the difference between a cold sore and cancer. Certain autoimmune diseases, for example, have symptoms like blistering gums.
More importantly, though, many diseases which affect your mouth have no symptoms or symptoms so mild they take some time to be noticed. One example is a cyst or tumor; they can grow for several years before you notice they are there. By this point surgery is usually required. In the case of a tumor, a biopsy will determine if it is benign or malignant.
These growths can be detected on dental x-rays long before they grow to the point where they can be felt. Aside from injuries, this area mostly gets x-rayed when you visit the dentist. Without this early detection, tumors, cysts, and autoimmune disorders become much harder to treat.
There is a lot we can tell about your general health by simply examining your mouth. Color changes in your mouth, such as blue, black, red, or yellow patches or unusual bumps generally have a cause. By finding out about other symptoms, it is easier to discover the cause and treat it. These color changes and bumps are commonly caused by a more significant issue. Though it isn’t the case most of the time, color changes in your mouth can indicate lymphoma. Once again we are back to early detection.
Heart disease and diabetes are both more common in individuals with poor oral health. Many chronic conditions have been linked to periodontal disease and gum inflammation. In the early stages, these conditions are nearly undetectable to the untrained eye. When you go see a dentist, even if you don’t have cavities, the purpose is to keep your mouth clean. Yes, some of this is managed with brushing, flossing, and rinsing, but for a really thorough cleaning, go to the pros.
It is estimated that this year, nearly 3% of all cancer cases will be oral cancer. This sounds like a small number, but in reality it is over 48,000 people. Oral cancer is among the hardest to detect of the cancers. This is partly because, as previously stated, most people will not have symptoms until later on.
We really need to step away from this “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mentality when it comes to health care. This is damaging in more ways than one. Waiting until you are bleeding out of your gums eyes to go to a dentist instead of going in when your teeth hurt does not make you tougher, it puts you at risk.
Before treating gum, tooth, or other oral problems consult with Dr. JJ Edderai. A dental check-up every three to four months will allow Dr. Edderai to keep a watchful eye on your oral health and prevent cavities before they start. For answers to some of the most commonly asked questions, visit my FAQ page at http://www.northmiamibeachdentist.com/faqs/.
Copyright Dr. Jean-Jacques Edderai -2016