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Can patients evaluate their own dental work?

As a patient it would be helpful to be able to see what my dentist sees!

Our previous blog discussed problems that can be seen on an x-ray.  Some problems can be seen just by looking at your teeth.  See the photos of defective restorations here.

Bacteria can easily get below this rough filling!

Although it is difficult to see your own teeth, you should try to inspect your teeth in your mirror at home and go to your dentist regularly for a thorough examination.  In our office, we have intraoral cameras that are able to take pictures of your teeth and enlarge the images on a computer screen so that you are able to see what we are seeing.  We feel that you will become more involved in your dental care in this way.

Dark stains in the grooves of your teeth should be checked by a dentist!

Filling is fractured probably due to decay below

Once bacteria have penetrated the edge between a filling and your tooth they can progress to the protected area below the filling causing cavities as the tooth decays around the restoration or filling.  The filling may then collapse into this soft area creating a hole or void in the tooth and exposing the inner, softer areas of the tooth to the oral environment.  If this is not sensitive, or if you do not seek treatment at this point, the decay will progress rapidly in the softer inside layers of the tooth and eventually decay will progress into the nerve area of the tooth where saving the tooth will require root canal treatment and a crown or possibly extraction of the tooth!  Regular dental visits can help prevent this from happening! Inspect your teeth regularly and loof for stained, rough, or pitted areas. Point out any concerns you have with your dentist and he or she should be able to tell you what is going on in your mouth so that you can become ‘partners’ whose goal is better oral health!

Dark brown areas like this are often decay!

If you would like to see images of your teeth and see the decay that is being evaluated or treated, please ask us!  Our office would be happy to explain in as much detail as you would like what is going on in your mouth.  Conversely, if you would just like to enjoy peaceful or rocking music while you are being treated and remain oblivious to the nuts and bolts of the procedures we would be happy to do this as well.  Once you make an informed decision about your dental care we will strive to treat you as comfortably as possible!  Our office is located in Grand Junction, Colorado.  Our phone number is (970) 242-3635.  Please visit us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/juliegillisddspc) or call us if you have any questions or concerns.

Yours for better dental health,

Julie Gillis DDS, AAACD

Restoring Teeth, Restoring Smiles