Dentistry, in general, is concerned with the health of your teeth and gums. However, dentistry is also concerned with the health of your mouth overall. There are many reasons why a dentist, like those at Ramtown Dental Associates, would probe into other areas of your mouth and make notations of what is going on in there.
Signs of More Serious Diseases
Dentists often find the beginnings of cancer and other diseases long before you or your general/family physician discovers them. Several types of oral cancer, throat cancer, and even nasoesophageal cancer can show signs inside your mouth. These signs start out as sores that do not heal and progress to something worse. Your dentist can tell the difference between a "biting your cheek" sore and something that is definitely not right and should not be in your mouth. He/she will not pass a diagnosis on what he/she is seeing, but instead insist that you visit your regular doctor as soon as possible to have these unusual signs and symptoms in your mouth and/or throat investigated.
Psychological Issues Resurrecting in Your Mouth
Who knew that some psychological issues could present in one's mouth? A dentist knows. He/she can spot signs of forced vomiting, binge eating, and pica (i.e., eating things that are definitely not food because of an imbalance in the brain).
The forced vomiting is often a sign of bulimia, a major psychological disorder, although it can also be a sign of a peptic ulcer or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERDS). The molars farthest in the back of the mouth will be worn away by stomach acid, and in the worst cases of bulimia, the rear molars are destroyed beyond compare and rotting. Binge eating appears in the mouth as dozens of cavities all over in a very short time, since binge eaters often binge on sweets and things they try to deny themselves for long periods of time and then eat in mass quantities.
Pica presents in patients with strange mottlings and odd fracturing or decay spots on the teeth. Patients with pica will also have the foulest breath because they are consuming everything from dirt to aluminum foil. A dentist cannot provide therapy and cannot say anything that would cause a patient to become defensive, but a dentist may still have a discussion about eating habits with a patient that presents with possible psychologically related dental problems.
A dentist is concerned with any ongoing condition that affects the health of your mouth and your health overall.