In this blog entry Dr Darryl Marsh writes...I am often asked by new patients to the practice: “What will happen at my first appointment?”
In the first part of this dental blog article we looked at how our first priority is to relieve pain then we looked at the first three things we would cover. We continue this blog entry here in part two looking at the remaining six elements that will make up your first dental appointment with us.
4. An assessment of the bone and gum supporting the teeth.
The reason this infection is so destructive is that the infection is usually not visible or painful until so much gum and bone is destroyed it is too late to save the tooth. If caught early on, success rates for treatment are close to 90%.
You cannot detect infection in the gums by looking at them. The best way to detect infection is by using a measuring stick called a periodontal probe to measure how far below the gum the tooth attaches to it. Ideally, this should be 1 – 2 mm. If this measurement is 5mm or more then bone is being destroyed, and this is bone that will not grow back.
5. Assessment of decay in the teeth.
Tooth decay is still a big problem for many people. The trouble with cavities in teeth is that often they start in the deep grooves of the back teeth or between the teeth where they are difficult to detect. This means by the time the teeth cause pain the cavity is often very close to the nerve and the tooth can abscess.
6. Assessment of deterioration of previous dental work.
Old amalgam (silver) fillings deteriorate over time and begin to corrode and turn black. When these fillings do not fit the teeth as they once did and bacteria can ‘leak’ in around the edges of the fillings to cause decay.
Tooth coloured fillings have staining at the edges when they begin to ‘leak’. In both situations the problems only get worse with time so it is important to check this.
7. Checking the roots of the teeth to detect signs of abscess or cyst formation.
When detected early enough, the pain and swelling of tooth abscesses can be avoided and the success rates for saving the tooth are increased. If left, these abscesses and cysts, even though they are not yet painful, are silently eating away at the jawbone that holds the teeth in.
“Some people continue to have tooth decay regardless of how well they brush!”
8. An assessment of the saliva and bacteria in the mouth
Some people continue to have tooth decay no matter how well they brush! Saliva and bacteria in the mouth are critical factors in the development of decay.
A simple and painless 10 minute test will give all the information needed to accurately detect any problems. Your dentist can then work out a personalised programme to counteract any inadequacies in the way your saliva protects your teeth.
9. A cosmetic smile analysis.
Many people today realise that their smile is an important part of how others perceive them. If you have any concerns about your smile – the colour of your teeth, or their shape and alignment – discuss this with your dentist.
They can help you learn how you can have a smile to be proud of including modern, cosmetic dentistry techniques that might make a difference, such as tooth whitening, bonding, ceramic veneers and adult orthodontics. This means that today, almost everyone can have a healthy attractive smile regardless of the current condition of their teeth.