First Dental Visit For Years?
What to expect upon your return to our Bedford dental practice
As we have mentioned numerous times before in our blogs, receiving regular dental care is essential if you want to have a healthy mouth. Most of our patients maintain this routine, but events can happen that throw us off course.
A cancelled appointment, especially for something that is causing upheaval in your life, can sometimes lead to us forgetting to make a new one. The same can apply when a patient who has dental phobia hits a real wall over it and simply avoids seeing the dentist at all, sometimes for many years.
Although this is far from ideal, we are always pleased when someone who hasn’t seen a dentist for some time decides that now is the right time to start getting their oral health back on course.
What should you expect?
First of all, it is important that patients of The Dental Centre Bedford know that they will be treated with respect by all of our team, from receptionist to dentist. There will be no lectures about neglecting your teeth and gums and no ‘tutting’ as we examine your teeth. We know how difficult making that first step can be and the last thing that we want to do is discourage any returning patients.
The first physical step that we take to start the restoration of your teeth is to examine them thoroughly. This will be done both visually and through the use of x-rays. Although many dental problems can be observed by the dentist, we can’t see below the gum line, and x-rays are therefore necessary to investigate issues such as root canal infections and any bone deterioration caused by gum disease. From the results of this examination, we will discuss an appropriate treatment plan with you.
The extent of any problems found is likely to be determined both by the length of your absence from regular dental care and how well you looked after your teeth whilst doing so. It is very possible that some problems will be detected and that will need to be treated. Whilst more complex issues, such as root canal infections, are quite possible, the two most common problems we expect to see are tooth decay and gum disease.
Tooth decay is common. Even though most of us brush our teeth, many of us do this less effectively than we should. Even fewer of us use dental floss as well, meaning that food remains trapped between the teeth. Add to this our love of sugary foods and it isn’t hard to see why tooth decay is likely to be present.
Unfortunately, tooth decay is not reversible and the decaying material will need to be removed. In many cases, this can be done through the use of a straightforward filling and this will usually depend on the size and location of any cavities. Whilst smaller areas of decay may be filled using our popular white dental fillings, larger areas may require our Cerec produced crowns for a stronger restoration. Finally, where decay is too extensive, we may need to extract the tooth. Whilst this will always be a last resort, where it is necessary we will offer advice on replacement options including bridges and dental implants.
Another problem that could well be found is gum disease. This is something that many of us will have at some time, perhaps even without being aware of it. At times of illness etc, we may neglect to clean our teeth as well as we should and gum problems may start to arise. These issues are often resolved as our health improves and we start to clean our teeth better again; however not always, and in these cases ongoing dental care will be required.
Where gum disease has advanced to periodontitis, the bone in which our teeth are positioned can deteriorate to the point where our teeth are no longer stable and have to be extracted. For most patients though, gum disease treatment can help to manage and, depending on the extent, resolve the problem.
For many patients, a course of ‘scale and polish’ treatments carried out by our dental hygienist will be sufficient to restore the health of your gums. Our hygiene team will also offer advice on how you can improve the care of your teeth at home. Where gum disease has advanced and the bacteria spread beneath the gum line and to the bone, it may be necessary to have a deep clean or ‘root planing’. This is usually carried out by a dental specialist under a local anaesthetic. It is one of the few treatments that can help to restore your teeth and gums when gum problems have reached this advanced stage.
At each stage, where damage to the teeth has occurred, we will discuss the restoration options with you. Increasingly, patients are opting for the most aesthetically pleasing options and we can help you to choose the one which is most suitable.
Our wide range of cosmetic procedures include the likes of white coloured fillings, natural looking crowns and tooth implants. Even something as simple as our popular teeth whitening treatment can help to give you a great looking smile.
If you haven’t seen a dentist for a long time, there is no point in delaying it further and the longer you leave it, the more likely it is that more extensive treatment will be needed later.
We are always happy to see our patients getting their oral health back on track and the first step in this is to make an appointment to see one of our friendly Bedford based team. You can make an appointment by calling The Dental Centre Bedford on 01234 819868.