Why no pain does NOT mean no problem.
Problems in the mouth and damage to the teeth can come in many forms and not all problems present with a primary symptom of pain.
The dentist does not only check your teeth.
- A dentist will visually inspect a patient when they come in. Looking for swollen glands, lymph nodes, cold sores, lesions or abnormalities on the lips. After which they may palpate some of the nodes, glands and muscles that can be felt on the outside of the body.
- By doing this we can highlight any abnormalities that may indicate undiagnosed conditions.
- They will conduct both a soft and hard tissue check.
- As well as checking the teeth a clinician will look at the cheeks, lips, tongue, palate (soft and hard), tonsils and adenoids.
- Dentists are on the lookout for lesions, lumps or abnormalities that may indicate something more sinister. These do not always occur alongside pain and often a patient will be unaware of their existence.
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- The dentist will also check the teeth looking for decay “holes”, until decay becomes more severe it can often be painless. However, decay is not the only condition that effects the teeth others include:
- Erosion – the teeth are worn away due to an acidic oral environment.
- Attrition – tooth on tooth wear often caused by clenching and grinding.
- Abrasion – mechanical wear often caused by brushing too hard or with a hard or medium toothbrush.
- Discolouration – sometimes an indication that the tooth/nerve is “dying”, a sign of trauma on the tooth, or sometimes overuse of whitening products (white spots).
Often pain can be prevented or lessened when conditions can be identified early during a routine check-up.