Dental warrant of fitness

By Yvonne Vannoort, The Dentist

Regular servicing is a given if cars are to perform properly and avoid costly or inconvenient breakdowns. Teeth need regular attention too if they are to remain in good order, do their job well and go the distance.

Early intervention, as the result of regular dental checks, means small problems are unlikely to become big and, sometimes, painful problems.

A dental WOF looks for decayed and/or cracked teeth or fillings. All areas of the mouth and the gums are also examined with the dentist also checking out jaw joints, wisdom teeth, signs of cancer, bite and medications that affect teeth, diet and nutrition.

X-rays show what’s happening in the bone around the teeth and, now, 3D X-rays show more detail than in the past.

Decayed teeth can often be sorted with a simple filling, however, over time, the tooth may need to be extracted or have a root canal (if you want to keep the tooth in place). The earlier we can help the better.

It’s reasonable to think teeth with cracks in the fillings would be sore; some are, some aren’t!

Those that aren’t sore will often have decay under and around the broken part of the filling which is no longer sealing the tooth. These can reach the point of toothache before one realises something is wrong. Unfortunately, at that point the tooth usually needs removing.

Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss so this needs to be identified and treated as early as possible.

Apart from causing smelly breath, gum disease is linked to heart disease, diabetes, strokes and low birth weight babies. That’s because gums act as a barrier and when they are infected and inflamed, bacteria enters the blood stream via the compromised barrier.

The monitoring system we find most beneficial for people, is a six-monthly visit to one of our very gentle hygienists, together with a yearly check by one of our dentists supported by two-yearly X-rays.

Prevention is certainly better than cure and overall health depends on it so, don’t wait too long.

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