My Teeth Don’t Hurt, Why Do I Need the Dentist?

 In blog, Cavities, Dental Work, General Dentistry

Hi, my name is Dr. Ben Gardea and I want to address a question we frequently get in dentistry and that’s the question: My teeth don’t hurt do I really need to come see a dentist? And just like in medicine there are a lot of conditions that don’t cause pain but they can still be a major issue. Today I wanted to show you a few pictures of just that situation. So this is a patient of mine who we saw just a few weeks ago. She is a young patient in her late teens, about 17 or 18, she has never had any real pain or problems with these teeth we are going to show you. But when she came in just a few weeks ago we found some rather deep decay and we took the opportunity to take some pictures so we could share them with you.  So these two teeth are the ones we did that day – we don’t have any pictures of this one before the decay was removed – but this one here we can see, she thought maybe she had a cavity here because of some darkness on the tooth but once we opened it up we could see how much that decay had spread around. What you are seeing in this pink is what we call carries detector we use this to help guide us, because sometimes when you think the decay is all gone there can still be a little bit there. This was a situation where we removed most of the decay and then went ahead and applied the carries detector just to see what was there and we can see there are a significant amount of carries hiding up under these little areas and a small amount of decay here as far as the depth, but you can see how widespread it is. What we see here in the center is actually the pulp, so this is the nerve of the tooth – it has the blood vessels and everything else. This is a situation where the patient never had any pain whatsoever and now is in need of a root canal; the sad thing about this is that if the patient had been more consistent with her care, this would have been a simple filling maybe a couple years ago and no big deal.  At this point she is going to have to have a root canal done, or possibly lose the tooth though. So this is a very good example of why just because it doesn’t hurt doesn’t mean that you don’t need to come in and have a dental exam and really take care of your teeth really well at home. Thanks for listening today and I hope that’s a little helpful information there.

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