What happens when you don’t go to a dentist for a decade

That’s right – I haven’t been to a dentist in over a decade, with the exception of an oral surgeon who removed my wisdom teeth about 6-7 years ago. I fell out of the practice of getting annual cleanings shortly after college when I moved away from my family dentist and didn’t have dental coverage during my early career. One way or another I always managed to avoid going until yesterday. The oral surgeon didn’t help things much back when I had my teeth removed, because he scoped out my teeth and commended me on them being in such good shape. Unfortunately they’d started to stain recently, and one stain in particular was driving Susan nuts, so after much cajoling I made an appointment.

The good news: no cavities. Brushing and flossing plus some help from genetics seem to have protected my teeth over the years, which I was greatly relieved about. The bad news: I have gum disease and have to go in for some serious under gum cleansing procedures which will apparently be pretty unpleasant. Once that’s done I have to go to the dentist every three months for a couple of years for followup cleanings which should entirely clear up the gum issues and protect my teeth for the long term.

The other good news is that the stains will all come off, and the dentist thinks I should consider a bleach treatment for them once the cleaning is finished, which should remove the yellow coloration. He also thinks I should get braces to fix my front teeth. I’m not sure on the braces but I’ll probably do the bleach treatment next spring since it seems to mean so much to Susan.

Anyway I’m not sure if there are any lessons learned. I avoided a decade of the discomfort of the dentists chair with seemingly little consequence, though I’ll reserve judgement and possibly sing a different tune after I’ve been through a couple of these undergum cleansing treatments.

0 thoughts on “What happens when you don’t go to a dentist for a decade

  1. Susan says:

    Okay, hold on a second. I’d like to set the record straight here. David makes it sound like I’m completely obsessed with his teeth which couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, I admit that I bugged him about going to the dentist but that was entirely because I was worried about oral health, not aesthetics. I’m not THAT superficial and shallow…


  2. Drew says:

    Hmm, indeed!
    That gum dealio, does it include them scraping below the gum line? That is a real treat. I had it done some time ago. I would have confessed to being the man on the grassy knoll after that.


  3. mom says:

    Ha! That’s what happens when you’re a smart ass and wreck your retainer to ‘punish your mom’ as the song goes! Get the braces put back on–I’m not embarrassed to be superficial in this case (or in a lot of others….)Too bad about the gum work–I hear it quite painful…snicker, snicker.
    Love, Mom


  4. Lea says:

    ugh, i sure home that gum thing doesn’t run in the family. i’m also guilty of not seeing the dentist in the last 10 or so years (and shamefully don’t have any plans to.) the thought sends shivers down my spine and makes me a bit queasy.


  5. Shiggity says:

    That’s what the dentist says, anyway. If you hadn’t gone at all, I wonder if your teeth or gums would really have had any problems in the long run. Did you have any indication anything was wrong BEFORE you went back to the dentist?


  6. dlh says:

    Not anything that I would have noticed. My gums would bleed a little sometimes when I flossed, which I thought was perfectly normal. Now they almost never do. The dentist had a good line about this when I first met him. He asked me if I thought my arm would bleed if I rubbed dental floss over it, and of course I said no. Neither should your gums, he pointed out. Anyway besides that, no, I had no clues anything was wrong, or symptoms.


  7. dadleehamilton says:

    re: braces . . . they install some back-facing holders that your associates won’t feel obligated to remark upon. teeth-straitening, which used to be called orthodontics and dismissed as cosmetics by the please-don’t-make-me-pay-for-your-good-health crowd (see: insurance industry, and relate it to a current debate) is the recommended path to dental health. if you don’t believe me, i’ll smile at you and count out the teeth missing from my mouth for you, 20 years on. your genetics in this arena are chancy at best.


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