There are fundamentally two reasons why people visit the dentist: to fix a problem or address an issue or for ‘prevention’.
- Certainly if there is pain , a tooth fracture, something is uncomfortable, bad breath or poor dental aesthetics … you would expect a dentist to fix these.
- What is ‘prevention’ and why?
In today’s world people expect to keep their own teeth ‘for life’, the time span of which is fast approaching 100 years!
So even if you are fifty years old, you may well need to retain your teeth for another half century. So it’s about prevention of loss of teeth. Moreover, you want them to stay healthy, be comfortable and functional to talk, and chew and to be attractive enough for you to be happy if not proud of them …. For the rest of your life. That certainly is achievable in very many cases.
However, it is not going to happen on its own. Bear in mind, that half a century ago, many people fully expected to lose many, if not all, of their teeth by the age of forty or fifty and have to wear full, or at least, partial dentures for the rest of their lives.
So , what would it take to keep your teeth for the rest of your life? It’s simple and certainly, not rocket science!
It is a combination of you, the patient, maintaining a very high level of dental hygiene, keeping plaque away from the teeth and gums all the time. That is five to six minutes of effective and efficient cleaning every day, 365 days a year.
Fix or prevent?
And… being professionally checked for dental health, function and aesthetics by a competent, caring, concerned dental practitioner, usually twice a year. He or she needs to catch the problems early when they are small … before they develop into something more major, more destructive and more time consuming and expensive to rectify.
If you have total confidence in your dentist and you go every six months, year in year out and most visits consist of comprehensive visual examinations, x-rays about every 1 ½ to 2 years, thorough scaling and cleanings with re-motivating and retraining you in really effective home hygiene techniques and, yes … perhaps the odd bit of ‘repair’ or replacement, you are likely to keep those teeth for a very, very long time!
The before and after photographs show two current patients of this practice of our youngest and our oldest; separated by eighty years!
The ninety-seven-year-old lady has a fully intact and functioning natural dentition … albeit she has had some extensive dentistry over the years. She may hit her centenary, but with all her own teeth. The seventeen-year-old girl is most likely to also have all her own teeth in eighty years; albeit having had far less dentistry during that time.
That is the potential of today’s reality.