Wellness

4 Things That Happen If You Avoid the Dentist

Elder Couple Reviewing dental X-ray with dentist

Many people believe good oral care means they only need to brush their teeth once or twice each day, and floss once daily. While these are important actions, it’s also necessary to schedule regular dental appointments for a checkup and professional teeth cleaning.

Consider four things that happen if you don’t:

  1. Tooth decay – Daily tooth brushing and flossing help keep plaque under control. Plaque is created by food particles that join with bacteria to form a substance that adheres to teeth. If not removed, plaque can break down tooth enamel and cause decay. During regular dental checkups, dental professionals clean and remove plaque. Skipping these appointments allows bacteria to flourish and attack your teeth and gums, and create decay that may require extensive restorations, such as a root canal or crown, and also cause bad breath.
  2. Gum disease – Untreated tooth decay can lead to gum or periodontal disease. The gums are designed to provide a tight cover around your teeth and roots. Plaque bacteria can attack the gums, causing swelling and bleeding, allowing bacteria to settle underneath. If not treated properly, this condition, called gingivitis, can lead to periodontal disease.
  3. Health problems – During a checkup, dental professionals also may detect signs of serious medical problems. Catching these problems early may help you avoid expensive medical bills. If you don’t regularly see the dentist, health problems, such as hypertension, diabetes, oral cancers, kidney failure and heart disease may not be discovered until they’re in a more advanced stage. Often it’s because people see their dentist more often than their regular medical doctor.
  4. Stains – Drinking coffee, tea and wine, or smoking cigarettes can stain teeth and create an unattractive smile. Professional teeth cleanings help remove stains. However, dark discolorations may require cosmetic dentistry procedures to remove stains and whiten teeth.

Find out how to overcome your fear of the dentist!

  • Faylinn ,

    I recently adopted a child who hadn’t seen a dentist in a few years. We took him to his first appointment last week and found that he has a good amount of tooth decay. However, his adult teeth have yet to grow in and I am wondering how those teeth will be affected by not having had his teeth taken care of for his first few years of life. Do you think that his adult teeth will be able to grow in healthy?

    • Ameritas Insight ,

      That’s a great question and a valid concern. Your dentist would be a great resource for that question. He/she may be able to learn more from another exam or x-rays.

      • James Bergman ,

        It is really worth it to go to the dentist often. While in college I decided that I could do without going to the dentist. I figured that I had good enough oral hygiene that I didn’t need to do anything. Unfortunately when I went to the dentist four years later I had four cavities. One for each year. So, I can tell you, it will be much less expensive to just go to the dentist twice a year like you are supposed to.

        • Kate Hansen ,

          I’ve been known to avoid the dentist a lot even when I probably shouldn’t. It’s interesting that you point out that avoiding the dentist can lead to gum disease and tooth decay. I bet these are really painful and it’s probably worth the time and money to just go to the dentist in the first place to prevent these.

          • Lanita ,

            Definitely go to the dentist, tell them ur high anxiety,or just stressed ,then practice breathing excersices. Trust me it works!!and the dentist has seen way worse teeth so don’t feel bad☺

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