Some people feel like genetics have cursed them with teeth more susceptible to infection and bacteria, and this might be true in some cases. Some, on the other hand, have been blessed with far more resilient teeth than others. If the former has affected you and you weren’t born with the best set of teeth to begin with, it’s important to be very diligent about your dental hygiene. While it may seem like teeth are not vital organs, you might be surprised to know that a road of poor dental care can lead to a dastardly demise.
While the pain of a rotting or affected tooth is no easy thing to ignore, it’s important that you take steps to prevent tooth infections from getting worse, as it can lead to further problems down the line. Visit your dentist twice a year for a cleaning and X-rays if you suspect a problem with a tooth or other oral health. The more meticulous you are with your dental hygiene, the easier it will be to fix a problem.
If your tooth has been affected by a crack from a faulty seal, a cavity that has worsened in decay, or an abscess, it’s important to confront the problem head-on, as it could progress past the point where help is possible. You may ask, “What’s the worst that could happen?” The reality is that, although rare, it is possible for a tooth’s infection to spread to other parts of the body. Infection can spread upwards to the brain or other organs, eventually affecting your heart, if it is left untreated.
Without proper cleanliness and care, the gums can become infected and inflamed. While this makes them more sensitive, it can also be a precursor of gum disease, or even oral cancer. And without regular checkups and oral cancer screening, the fate of being an oral cancer victim can quickly creep up on you.
Don’t give up hope, though. Even after a tooth has developed an infection, your dentist could still try to alleviate the situation. What could your dentist do? Well, if your root has become inflamed and infected, a root canal procedure will have to be performed. These procedures require your dentist, or endodontist, to remove all the nerves and pulp from your tooth, in order to salvage what is left of your original tooth. After extensive drilling, a sealant and subsequent crown will be placed on your tooth to protect it, as it is now essentially hollowed out. A root canal is a last resort, though, as the procedure can be expensive, even with the help of dental insurance.
The best way to prevent costly procedures and painful inconveniences is to stay on top of your everyday hygiene. Brushing at least twice a day and flossing daily can make a significant difference in your dental and gum health. You don’t have to be perfect, but you have to be smart about your care and when you do suspect an issue, confront it quickly to prevent possibly dangerous consequences down the road.
If you suspect your tooth or teeth need immediate attention, visit our office in Minneapolis-St. Paul. Dr. Steven Hagerman is here to address your dental concerns and assess your dental health. Call us for an appointment today at (651) 646-2392.