Most Dental Problems are Silent

Daily, I get asked from patients, if I am not having pain, why do I have to get a filling?

Like cancer and heart disease in the body, most dental problems are silent. Lets look at a few silent dental problems.


When a cavity starts to hurt, that is when it is almost too late to just simply do a filling! Cavities do no hurt until they get close to the nerve in the tooth. The tooth has 2 layers to protect the nerve, the enamel and the dentin. The enamel is one of the hardest elements of the human body, its amazing to think microscopic bacteria can destroy it. Once the bacteria sets up in the dentin of the tooth, the tooth can literally become an eggshell and still look like nothing is wrong. The longer the bacteria sit inside the tooth, the more they destroy by their acid secretion/waste. The bacteria work their way through the dentin to the nerve. This is when pain can start. By then, the nerve has bacteria in it and an infection develops at the root tip of the tooth. The only way to save this tooth now is a root canal and crown, when a filling would have been more simple and cost effective. The assumption is if the tooth doesn’t hurt, it doesn’t need to be fixed

toothdiagram-269x300Gum Disease

Gum Disease is bacteria, plaque and tartar, that develops under the gums. The bacteria also secrete a substance that can kill and destroy bone structure around the teeth. As painful as that sounds, it can present no pain. With destroyed bone around the teeth, teeth can eventually get lose and fall out. Generally, this process can take 5-15 years, but can also happen rapidly, depending on diet, hygiene, bacteria levels in the mouth, etc.

endodonticsExisting Root Canals

Once a root canal is completed, there is no more nerve in the tooth. At the bottom of the tooth (the root tip) is where a infection can set up. Bone doesn’t have nerves like tissue does, so therefor if there is an infection underneath a root canal, it can’t be felt. Once this gets to a large level, prognosis of retreating the root can decrease.


Dental implants can get gum disease around them and fail as well. Anytime a dental implant becomes loose, its a failure.

So, the point of this blog is for me to show you examples of why and how most dental problems are silent. After any dental work is completed it should be checked yearly with an x-ray. The more dental work you have completed, the more work it takes to keep the work lasting.

Don’t take chances and see a dentist routinely, so we can get to the problem, before other major problems creep up on you.