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As part of a routine check of your mouth, your dentist will also want to have a look at the foundations of your teeth, or in technical speak ‘your gums’! You may notice from time to time when you are brushing your teeth that there is a little bit of blood when you spit out. This bleeding may indicate the presence of gingivitis or gum disease. Your dentist has a small probe with a special tiny ball on the end of it, imaginatively called ‘the ball-ended probe’. This is used to gently run around the necks of your teeth where they meet the gums. The first signs of gum disease always start here and your dentist will not want to press hard at all on the gums. By doing this check, your dentist can identify any areas where gum disease is present. Often just telling you where you may have been missing the gum during brushing will solve this problem.
On some areas of your mouth you may have a build up of calcium deposits on the teeth. This is called calculus or tartar. If left in place the gum can become inflamed under the calculus area, so the dentist will make a note of this and may wish to provide some cleaning for you as part of your dental treatment, with our Dental Hygienist.
Your dentist will want to have a general look around the skin of your mouth (technically, ‘the mucosa’). This does not involve probing and should be a purely visual check to make sure everything is healthy.
Your dentist will also check your jaw (to be technical, they will check your Temporomandibular Joint or TMJ). The main causes of teeth grinding and clenching (called Bruxism) are stress and poor bite. People often take out their worries, fears and stress subconsciously, while they sleep, causing the muscles and joints associated with the mouth to become strained and over-worked. These muscles can go into spasm, and joints can become inflamed and result in pain in your jaw. You may even be waking up with headaches and wondering why! Teeth clenching and grinding can also result in the loss of enamel, causing teeth to become more sensitive and causing the eventual need for root canal therapy and crowns. Grinding can also cause teeth to fracture and can cause mobility of the teeth.
Our point is, that while looking after your teeth is vital, there’s so much more to good oral health than most people realise. By making an appointment with us, not only we can help you get or maintain an amazing smile but also help improve your quality of life!
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