Should You Ignore ‘Minor’ Dental Issues, Or Delay Treatment?

Not bothering to see the dentist? Why it’s likely a mistake!

When do you visit the dentist? For most people it is for their regular six monthly check up appointments or when they are in pain from a bad toothache or perhaps have knocked out or broken a tooth.

Situations such as the latter can be classed as dental emergencies and when they occur, we will always try to see our local Canterbury patients as soon as we possibly can in order to alleviate the discomfort and restore the tooth where possible.

Visiting the dentist for the above makes sense and where pain is involved, most people are spurred into action. There are other ‘grey areas’ though, where patients are sometimes not sure whether they should visit, or simply feel that things are not bad enough to ‘bother the dentist’.

Head in the sand

Most of us have probably experienced mild discomfort from our teeth or gums. Perhaps our gums felt a little sore, or a tooth was throbbing a little, but not enough to be painful or affect our day to day life. These are the type of situations when we might tend to put our head in the sand and ignore it for as long as we possibly can. This may be especially so when a routine dental appointment at Bradley and Partners Dental and Implant Clinic is just a few weeks or so away and we grin and bear it in the interim. Unfortunately, taking this approach could backfire.

Below, we take a look at some of the more commonly ignored dental problems and why getting attention quickly is usually a better plan!

Sore gums

This one is quite common and can sometimes happen for simple reasons such as eating something hot that burns, or we may have caught something in the gum and cut it a little. Issues like this are generally not problematic, but if your gums feel uncomfortable for a few days or more, or they bleed when you brush your teeth, you should see a dentist as soon as you can. These could be early warning signs that you may have gum disease and whilst it can often be treated quite simply if caught early enough, can involve an invasive treatment known as a root scaling if it becomes too advanced. Even with this latter stage treatment, tooth loss is still possible.

Minor chips of the tooth

A badly broken tooth is likely to see most of us making a call to the dentist for an emergency appointment. A small chip of the tooth though may not. It is possible to chip a tooth without too much actual damage, but even this type of chip can cause problems. The sharp edges that are often left can cause grazes and lacerations of the lips and cheeks and be quite painful, possibly even leading to infection. Where the chip is a little more significant, it may not only be rough edges that are a problem, but the dentin layer beneath the enamel may have been exposed. This less well protected part of the tooth is more prone to tooth decay and the longer you leave the tooth before having it examined, the more likely tooth decay is. A more significant chip may also weaken the tooth, leading to further damage and even a major breakage of the tooth.


Make no mistake about it, if you are suffering from a toothache, something is wrong. Even if the discomfort is reasonably minor, you should have the tooth checked out as soon as you can. Tooth decay is usually a progressive problem and will get worse the longer you leave it. A quick appointment may require a small filling but ignoring the problem, or delaying treatment, may mean that you will eventually be in more pain. By this time, you may also need a larger dental filling, a crown or even root canal treatment if the infection has reached the pulp area of the tooth.

As patients of the Bradley and Partners Dental and Implant Clinic, you should never think that you will be ‘bothering the dentist’ if you have a problem with your teeth or gums. Our experienced dental team are here not only to help you to have great looking teeth through our cosmetic treatments, but healthy teeth too. Whilst we can offer support through restorative treatments, it is far better to minimise the need for these as much as possible.

If you are in any doubt at all about a problem with your teeth or gums, please do make sure to make an appointment so that a professional can examine it. Don’t put it off; you may well regret it later on!

To make an appointment to see one of our Canterbury dental team, whether routine or emergency, please call us on 01227 463529.