What Happens Inside Your Mouth When You Skip Your General Dentist Appointments

inside your mouth

24 Feb What Happens Inside Your Mouth When You Skip Your General Dentist Appointments

We all know that we are supposed to visit our dentist every six months, but it always seems too easy to let something get in the way.

Hectic schedules, phobias about dentistry, or mere forgetfulness are all reasons why one-third of Americans skip regular dentist visits.

Forgoing general dental care can result in rapid deterioration of your oral health. Even if tooth decay is not an immediate concern, your general dentist can spot other issues inside your mouth before they become major health concerns.

What Can Happen When You Skip General Dental Visits

Neglecting regular dental care can cause all kinds of ill effects.

Some are merely unpleasant or inconvenient. Others can become life-threatening if left unchecked.

1. Plaque Buildup

One of the first issues that come with neglecting your oral heal is a build-up of plaque on your teeth.

Daily brushing and flossing can remove a thin layer of plaque from your teeth but is usually inadequate for removing plaque in hard-to-reach areas. If left alone, this plaque will harden into tartar, which is substantially more difficult to remove with at-home brushing and flossing.

Once tartar has been allowed to settle, you will usually need a general dentist to remove it.

2. Bad Breath

Accumulated plaque and tartar can also cause chronic bad breath. Regular cleanings will keep all the plaque and bacteria in your mouth to a minimum, helping to keep your breath fresh.

Bad breath can also be caused by periodontitis, a serious infection of the gums. Good oral hygiene can prevent periodontitis, and a general dentist can identify and treat it during a visit.

3. White Coated Tongue

Beyond causing bad breath, bacteria in your mouth can also be responsible for a white, filmy coating developing on your tongue. 

White tongue happens when there is swelling in the small, finger-like projections that line your tongue. The white coating is a mixture of debris, dead cells and bacteria that become lodged among the inflamed projections. 

If your white tongue persists for more than a few weeks, it is probably time for you to visit your general dentist.

4. Tooth Decay

If left untreated, a build-up of plaque and tartar will eventually lead to tooth decay.

Tooth decay will only get worse the longer it is left alone and can cause all kinds of problems. Pain, bad breath, infection and eventual tooth and even bone loss are all possible without professional treatment.

5. Cavities

Once tooth decay sets in, cavities will begin to form.

The accumulation of bacteria, plaque, and tartar result in the production of acids that will eat away at your tooth enamel over time. These acids will cause cavities to form.

Small cavities can be treated quickly and easily. But if they are not treated, the damage with eventually require more extensive work like crowns or root canals. 

Seeing a general dentist on a regular basis will enable them to spot potential cavities early before they are allowed to become a serious concern.

6. Gum Disease

Infected gums do not always feel painful or irritated right away. The early stages of gingivitis can manifest in gums the feel completely healthy.

A general dentist can spot the disease at its early stages, and help treat it. A patient who does not make formal dental visits could risk their gingivitis advancing to the more serious periodontal disease.

If periodontal disease is allowed to advance, many patients will suffer tooth and even bone loss to the infection.

7. Tooth Loss

Tooth loss is often the ultimate result of neglected oral health. Untreated tooth decay or gum disease are both capable of causing tooth loss.

The stereotype is that tooth loss is only a problem for seniors. But tooth loss can affect patients at any age. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, young adults aged 20-34 have an average of five missing teeth.

Seeing a general dentist twice a year can help you to avoid that problem that leads to lost teeth.

8. Stained Teeth

If losing teeth outright doesn’t become a problem, developing stains on them often does.

Teeth become dull and yellow over time due to food, drink, and smoking. A yellowing effect can also be caused by the tooth’s enamel thinning over time, allowing the dark pulp of the tooth to become visible through the enamel.

Your general dentist can keep your smile bright by removing stains and helping make sure that your enamel remains strong and healthy.

9. Abscesses Inside Your Mouth

An abscess is a pocket of swollen tissue, often filled with pus. Their presence is a sign of a significant infection.

Despite their potential seriousness, abscesses often go unnoticed by patients for a time. Many can only be spotted by x-ray. An abscess that goes unnoticed and untreated can cause pain, spreading infection, and serious complications requiring extensive treatment. Many patients start to feel an ache within their mouth, feel a build-up of pressure and may start to lose mobility of their jaw, considering the risk of infection spreading and even possibly sepsis should the abscess be left alone, an appointment with an Emergency dental clinic should be scheduled as soon as an abscess is suspected.

10. Illness in Other Areas of the Body

Your oral health is connected to the health of the rest of your body. Neglecting it can have unforeseen consequences for your overall wellness.

Research has found potential links between poor oral health and a range of serious ailments, including heart disease, diabetes, dementia, and Rheumatoid arthritis.

11. Oral Cancer

An oral cancer screening is a part of a standard dental examination. Like any cancer, oral cancer can be potentially deadly if left undiscovered.

The longer you avoid seeing a general dentist, the longer you could potentially be living with undiagnosed cancer. Seeing a dentist regularly is especially important if you engage in any risk-increasing behaviors like using tobacco or drinking alcohol.

Schedule a Visit

Regular cleanings and examinations can help prevent serious health issues from developing, and early treatment can resolve issues inside your mouth before they become severe.

Postponing a dental check-up can leave patients’ oral and general health vulnerable. Scheduling a visit every six months should be a part of everyone’s wellness regimen.

We provide a full assortment of dental examinations and treatments, ranging from regular cleanings, cosmetic whitening, and dental implants. Contact us to learn more about the procedures we offer and for tips on maintaining your oral health.

Dr. Daniel Allen

Daniel Allen, DDS has been involved in dentistry since 2003, starting his career as a dental hygienist before completing his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree at UT Houston Dental Branch. Dr. Allen is a sixth generation Texan and was raised here in Central Texas. Learn more

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