Although you might not think about it much, dentists are patients, too. While we may not have the same anxieties our own patients do when getting into the chair (knowing exactly what all the instruments do helps a lot), we still think about what the dentist might be thinking about our mouths when we go in for a visit.
You’d think we hold you to a high standard, but there is NO excuse for us to have plaque buildup or skip days on flossing.
If you’re ever wondering what else we’re thinking when we are looking deep in your mouth, here is our list of Top 5 Things Your Dentist Knows and might be thinking at your exam.
- No, you don’t floss everyday
Sure, you might have flossed right before this appointment (which is obvious since your gums are inflamed), however we can tell that you don’t floss every day. Healthy gums are tight and pink, while gums that have not been flossed in a while will show evidence of cuts from the floss.
- You’re probably pregnant
Don’t worry, we won’t blow your cover. Pregnant women are at a higher likelihood of having gingivitis due to an increase in progesterone, which leads to more oral bacteria. In addition, a small percentage of women develop a deep red lump on their gums called a pregnancy tumor or pyogenic granuloma, which is highly recognizable to a trained eye. These accesses are benign and will disappear after pregnancy. If you are pregnant, please let us know so we can plan your treatment accordingly.
- You have a vitamin deficiency
A deficiency in certain vitamins and minerals can lead to side-effects in your mouth. For example: bone loss, increased healing time for wounds, and gums that bleed easily. An iron deficiency, in particular, can result in sores in the corners of the mouth or changes to the tongue that leave it smooth and glossy.
- You might be diabetic
Those with diabetes are at an increased risk for periodontal disease. This infection in the gums and bone can lead to difficulty chewing and tooth loss. The best way to prevent gum disease for diabetics to control your blood sugar. While poorly-controlled blood sugar could lead to gum disease, it has also been shown that gum diseases raises the amount of sugar in the blood. This two-way street could lead to an increase in complications in other systems such as the kidneys and heart. If you or your dentist notice an increase in gingivitis, it is important to take this discovery seriously and ensure your blood sugar levels are staying in the normal range. This early-stage of gum disease can act as an indicator for complications with the diabetes.
- You bite your nails (or pens, or other)
If you’re a nail biter than we can probably guess it as soon as we look at your teeth. Generally, signs include chipped and cracked teeth as well as general wear and tear around your mouth. As your teeth wear down, they become uneven, resulting in jaw pain and an unnatural bite. These are all issues that compound one on top of the other and can lead to more severe complications.
Teeth grinding is common in children—however, it can be especially bad for your teeth as an adult. Many of us grind our teeth in our sleep unconsciously. For others, it’s common to happen is in high stress situations or when lifting heavy objects. These two commonly lead to jaw pain, but the good news is that they can be easily addressed by your dentist. Just like with nail biting, teeth grinding will wear your teeth down and can lead to problems in the future.
What are YOU thinking while you stare into that light? Where does your mind wander when you’re in the chair? Connect with us on Facebook and let us know!
Also published on Medium.