"But how come my old dentist never found any cavities??"
If you've been visiting another dentist regularly and switched over to our office for a Complete Oral Exam appointment, welcome to our office :)
Unfortunately, you may have been surprised to learn that we found one or more cavities, which makes you wonder, how this happened 'all of a sudden".
At ALFIE Dentistry, we pride ourselves on throughout dental care:
* we learn about your full dental history by asking about it as well as doing a visual inspection of/in your mouth.
* we take digital x-rays, when needed
* we check your gum health (to make sure it's good to go and that it's providing a good foundation for your teeth to live in)
* we also do Vizilite testing, when something looks suspicious - to screen for oral cancers
While we can see larger cavities fairly well with our naked eyes, it's the digital radiographs (x-rays) that really help us to detect even the smallest of cavities. We're able to capture the images of your teeth and enlarge it to the size of a computer screen and then zoom in even more, without losing much of the high quality.
On top of that, we're able to adjust brightness and contrast on our screens to make the process easier for you to see.
Both of these functions allow us to get a far clearer picture than with dentists still using traditional x-rays (you remember, those tiny images you could hold in your hand?)
But, that may bring up the question/concern for you, as the conscious consumer, "Well, if the cavity is so small, can't I just leave it and brush it really thoroughly so it doesn't get bigger?"
It always depends on the case - sometimes, we'll see something really, really small - probably not even considered a 'cavity' yet! - and we'll remind you to brush that area very, very, very well. So if this is you, remember to follow these instructions.
In other cases, it's wise to fill the hole when it's found because leaving it will almost always lead to a worsening of the cavity. This is typically what happens after because food particles and bacteria get trapped easier when there's a 'notch' or 'divot' in a tooth when compared to a smooth surface.
Unfortunately, it won't be guaranteed whether:
* the cavity will just get deeper (and hit a nerve - which requires root canal therapy and likely crown placement) or
* if it'll just grow in diameter, which will require a larger filling or potentially a crown (both of which, are more expensive than the smaller filling) or
* a combination of both
All three of these potential scenarios require more time and monetary investment on your part, which is why we let you know when its small so that you can be prepared.