You may think that dental mistakes are limited to not brushing for at least two minutes twice per day and forgoing daily flossing. Those are really big mistakes and are very obvious. However, there are other mistakes you can make with your dental care that can lead to tooth loss as well as resulting in much higher costs for restorations that could have been avoided. Here are five dental mistakes that are commonly made.
Failure to Treat Bruxism
If you grind your teeth, you probably have already heard it called bruxism. It usually happens while asleep. Over time it can cause teeth to fracture or wear down to the point they need to be replaced. You may not even know you have bruxism. Soreness in the jaw or a headache in the mornings are symptoms. Many people learn about it from someone else who tells them that they grind their teeth while asleep. Wearing a mouth guard while sleeping protects your teeth from further wear.
Not Seeing the Dentist for Dental Pain or Discomfort
Fear of the dentist is very common. Some people will endure excruciating pain, hoping it will go away, just to not have to visit a dentist. Pain is an indicator of trouble. It could be anything from sensitive teeth to an infected tooth. The most common cause of tooth pain is a cavity that can easily and painlessly be fixed. Tooth pain may subside for a time, but the damage is still progressing. A cavity that could have been fixed in a few minutes may progress to the need for a root canal or, worse yet, an extraction. Also, abscesses in teeth can become life-threatening within hours, requiring hospitalization and oral surgery.
Getting Annual Checkups
The once per year checkup at the dentist may or may not be enough. Due to genetics, tobacco use and diets that contain lots of sugary foods and acidic drinks such as soda,twice annual or more frequent dental checkups may be recommended. A basic dental exam is inexpensive. The annual one is covered by most insurances. An exam and cleaning twice per year goes a long way to protecting the one set of choppers you will hopefully have for the rest of your life. Several year of biannual dental exams is less expensive than the cost of one dental implant to replace a tooth lost due to neglect.
Not Getting Dental Implants Because of Diabetes
A myth that is commonly perpetuated is that dental implants do not work for diabetics, and that it is even worse if the person has uncontrolled diabetes. The myth seems to originate from studies done on animals with diabetes, which does not directly correlate with human findings. An article from the National Institutes of Health indicates that dental implants have a good track record of success even in diabetics who do not have their disease fully under control.
Failing to Get Dentures and Partials Relined
Dentures and partials are meant to last for years. However, due to bone loss from not having real teeth in the area that partials or full dentures cover, the gum line shrinks and alters shape as time goes on. This can cause poor fitting dentures, sores and even jaw pain. As it happens slowly, you may adjust the way you chew, stop eating foods you once enjoyed because they are too difficult to chew, or get more frequent sore spots in your mouth. Relining partials and dentures is recommended every one or two years.
There are incredible things that are a part of the new frontier of dental science. Even 3D laser scanning is available for mouths to make precisely fitting dentures and partials. New resins have replaced amalgams to provide fillings that look like the real tooth. However, the best dental work is protecting your real teeth. Seeing your dentist at the schedule he recommends will help you keep your real teeth as long as possible.