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Worried about appearance of cavities / sore gums after not visiting dentist in 3 years

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elloise9826

Junior member
Joined
Dec 6, 2016
Messages
4
Worried about appearance of cavities / sore gums after not visiting dentist in 3 years

When I was a kid, I had perfect teeth. I never needed any fillings and my dentist always said to me 'you'll probably never need a filling in your life'. He did tell me that I had sensitive gums and was prone to mild gingivitis so it was very important that I looked after my gums properly. I brush my teeth twice and day every day (if not three times), use a non-alcohol mouthwash at least once a day and I try to floss regularly (although realistically I don't do it every day and due to my small mouth, some teeth are hard to reach with the floss) so I don't have poor dental hygiene or anything.

Anyway, somewhere during my teenage years I developed an irrational phobia of the dentist. Because of what he'd said about my gums, I convinced myself that if I went back to the dentist, they'd tell me I had advanced periodontal disease and needed to have all my teeth out. This is something that has stuck with me and despite visiting every six 6 months religiously as a child, I didn't visit the dentist once between the ages of 17 and 23 (bad I know).

When I went to the dentist last, three years ago (I'm 26 now), I proper had to psyche myself up to go because I was so scared. Anyway, they did a check up of my teeth and said all was fine, no fillings needed. She said my gum health was fine which really surprised me. There was a bit of build up on my teeth so she referred me to the hygienist and I had a scale and polish. She told me everything was OK and to come back in 12 months for another check up, but I didn't. Even though everything was OK last time I still had a fear she'd tell me some really awful news the next time and I'd have to have a really painful invasive treatment and/or lose teeth.

Anyway, it's now three years since my last check up and I know I need to go. I've been worrying about my teeth recently as I've been getting random pains in my teeth (nothing unbearable at all but mildish pains that last a few seconds and then go, which is a bit worrying) and my gums have been a bit sore, despite taking good care of my teeth.

Anyway from the front my teeth look fine - very straight and not the whitest teeth in the world but no really obvious staining or build up/tartar. I decided to take a photo of the inside of my teeth with the flash as I'd noticed a bit of build up on the inside and I was horrified. Not sure if the camera/flash made it look more extreme but there was lots of brown build up on the inside of my teeth (weirdly none on the outside) and I noticed a number of holes in my teeth. Presumably cavities! I know a lot can change in three years but to go from no problems at all to lots of cavities and brown stains/build up, I was horrified :o I try to make sure I do all surfaces of my teeth when I brush but I guess I can't be doing them that well? Although I have been using a chlorhexydene mouthwash recently to try to calm my sore gums down and I know that can stain teeth brown so maybe that's why the build up is brown, as it's always been white when I've had it in the past?

But the cavities - I don't even know where they have come from! I'm assuming they're cavities anyway, they're just slight holes in my teeth but there are a few of them, mainly on my upper teeth and one on my lower teeth. Could these be anything else or definitely cavities? I've never really looked at my teeth up close before like that so I don't know how long they've been there for.

I'm now even more terrified to visit the dentist but feeling like I really do need to go. Will it just be a case of a scale and polish to remove the build up (which I'm guessing would relieve some of my recent sore gum issues given that the gums are sore in the places where the build up is) and a few fillings to sort the cavities? There's not really any receding on my gums that I can see although they are a bit red and inflamed, so hoping it hasn't progressed to periodontitis yet but I'm still worried.

I'm scared just of having a filling to be honest as I've never had one before and if I do need a few, I'm worried they'll really hurt.

Can anyone offer any advice?
 
Sevena

Sevena

Super Moderator
Joined
Jun 24, 2012
Messages
805
Location
UK
Re: Worried about appearance of cavities / sore gums after not visiting dentist in 3 years

Welcome to the forum!

I can't tell you if they're definitely cavities or not, they might be! Could they have been shadows caused by the camera's flash illuminating the slightly uneven surface of your teeth? If you can take more photos from different angles, you can maybe tell better. Either way, fillings are not painful and reasonably quick.

I know you're scared of hearing The Worst when you go to the dentist - I have the exact same fear when it comes to the doctor. It makes it really, really hard for me to go. But your mouth will not go from "fine" to "no teeth can be saved" in the space of a year or two. It just won't!

You definitely need to go to the dentist if your gums are irritated and you have tartar. A little bit of red inflammation doesn't mean the worst. It's very common! But best to get it looked at and get a proper cleaning. If you go to the dentist regularly, and get your regular cleanings, you can stay on top of any issues like this and tackle them before they even become a problem!

So please try not to fear the worst. I promise you'll feel a lot better if you go to the dentist and get these things looked at and dealt with. :hug4:
 
E

elloise9826

Junior member
Joined
Dec 6, 2016
Messages
4
Re: Worried about appearance of cavities / sore gums after not visiting dentist in 3 years

Welcome to the forum!

I can't tell you if they're definitely cavities or not, they might be! Could they have been shadows caused by the camera's flash illuminating the slightly uneven surface of your teeth? If you can take more photos from different angles, you can maybe tell better. Either way, fillings are not painful and reasonably quick.

I know you're scared of hearing The Worst when you go to the dentist - I have the exact same fear when it comes to the doctor. It makes it really, really hard for me to go. But your mouth will not go from "fine" to "no teeth can be saved" in the space of a year or two. It just won't!

You definitely need to go to the dentist if your gums are irritated and you have tartar. A little bit of red inflammation doesn't mean the worst. It's very common! But best to get it looked at and get a proper cleaning. If you go to the dentist regularly, and get your regular cleanings, you can stay on top of any issues like this and tackle them before they even become a problem!

So please try not to fear the worst. I promise you'll feel a lot better if you go to the dentist and get these things looked at and dealt with. :hug4:

I know it's late but just wanted to say thanks so much for replying to me the other week. I managed to pluck up the courage to visit the dentist just before Christmas after reading your reply!

I decided to go to my mum's private dentist as it's the one I used to go to as a kid and it's so much nicer than the NHS dentist I've been to in more recent years, and he is really really good. Anyway, he had a look at my teeth, said they are great and the 'cavities' were actually just a stains on the inside of my teeth :redface: so no fillings needed!

He did say my gums were really red and inflamed, which I already knew and that there were 5mm pockets around my wisdom teeth, which didn't surprise me to be honest as they are always getting sore and annoying me, and they are SO hard to reach with the toothbrush and floss. He recommended removing them eventually to help me keep my mouth clean but he wanted to get my gums generally healthy first, so I went to see the hygienist and she gave me a really thorough scale and polish, and I went back today for a follow-up and she said there's already been a big improvement in my gums from the tartar removal and all the flossing I've been doing. And the random pain I was experiencing has gone so think it was sensitivity due to slight gum recession! But she agreed with the dentist that my wisdom teeth are likely to continue to be an issue so think I will bite the bullet and have these removed once the rest of my gums are in tip top condition :)

Anyway, thanks again for your supportive words, it gave me the confidence and motivation to finally make the appointment so I'm really grateful for that! Finally getting on top of things and determined to keep my teeth and gums healthy now.
 
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