I missed dental visits for a few years and I’ll share how it affected my dental health, and about my dental hygiene.
Please note that not everyone is affected equally. Some people are at low risk of dental problems even without much effort with their dental hygiene.
If you suspect a dental problem, you should see a dentist. I recommend dentists who’s also knowledgeable about health.
For a few years before 2010, I didn’t see a dentist and had days when I brushed only once a day or less.
In mid-2010, I noticed sensitive teeth and felt some pain possibly from a small cavity, I was concerned which was why I went to a dentist. My teeth were x-rayed, and surprisingly, only decay at the margin of a filling, and between two teeth were revealed. I expected a mouthful of cavities. From then on, I got dental cleanings and examinations regularly. A few small cavities were diagnosed years later.
In 2011, I got dental cleanings. Late 2011, when I flossed after a dental cleaning, most or all of my gum line was bleeding. Even after a few weeks of flossing, my gums were still tender. Months later, my gums felt sore when biting and my teeth felt a little loose after flossing.
At that stage, I didn’t let my dentist know about it yet because I thought there wasn’t a problem, and I must be too young. Healthy gums aren’t supposed to bleed.
In 2014, I noticed gum bleeding after brushing my teeth. My gums also receded far enough that the space between two of the roots of my molars were visible, making cleaning more difficult. I had my gums examined. My teeth were also x-rayed which even revealed bone loss around my tooth sockets!
Here are my pocket depth readings in 2015:
- 37 – 4mm
- 9 – 5mm
- 3 – 6mm
Since there were pockets, dental cleanings were recommended at least every four months instead of six months for those with healthy gums. With gum disease, it’s important to have more frequent cleanings to prevent our gum pockets from getting worse. Flossing only reaches 3mm, and 3mm or smaller pockets are healthy.
Interdental brushes and gum stimulator were also recommended. Adding more tools meant longer cleaning times which is one of the the good reasons for prevention.
I also had laser treatments which cleans our gums and helps them to reattach to the roots of our teeth. After the treatment, you’re instructed to wait for healing before flossing the treated areas. I had two quadrants treated.
Unfortunately, my gums didn’t improve in the long run maybe because of missed spots in my dental hygiene.
Interdental brushes seemed to help but my gums were still inflamed. Even ozone wasn’t enough.
In late 2016, I started using the Water Pik after reading encouraging studies and reviews about it. It can actually penetrate 6mm! My gums became lighter and the pocket depths decreased.
Tom Haws has articles about his experience with the Water Pik too. He claimed that his gum health improved as well.
I think once you have pockets and other difficult to reach areas, you need more than brushing and flossing. Now I rinse my mouth after eating, brush twice a day, and use an interdental brush, floss, and the Water Pik before going to bed.
I don’t recommend repeating my mistake. It’s better to prevent dental problems in the first place. Even if you already have gum disease, you may be able to prevent its progression and even reverse it.