So why would some dentist say this? Don't dentist just fill teeth? Well no they don't. Consider this. If you are going to build a house on your block of land you will do the survey, the ground prep and then make some good footings or foundations. Only after all this would you consider building up that valuable house on that block.
The same is true for dental treatment. We all know that dental treatments are expensive. But if it is done in the right order then that expensive treatment , be it filling or whatever, will last much better with more chance of being comfortable and trouble free. Even ignoring the cost, no one wants to suffer from failed dental treatments. Why would you?
Now teeth are held into the bone by ligaments under the gums. Healthy gums provide the seal that stops bacteria ingressing and thus causing havoc in that ligament structure. If the ligament structure gets too damaged or the bone gets destroyed by the inflammation, those bacteria cause, then those precious gemstones, you call teeth, will get loose and fall out sooner or later.
Before four decades ago it was assumed that your teeth will fall out soon around when you reached forty years of age and dentures would follow. However science and medical knowledge has changed. We can prevent and treat gum disease and follow the mantra "teeth for life". All it takes is that you show up for an examination before it is too late. Your wonderful dentist will get a little measuring stick and measure 6 sites around each tooth that you have. Your dentist will call these numbers out to his assistant so the numbers can be recorded. These numbers help that dentist know how good or bad the gums are and what must be done to fix them. If that sub-gum inflammation can't be eliminated then serious decisions needs to be made as to whether it is best to keep those teeth.
I have already said 'teeth for life" but if you cant treat that gum, ligament and bone inflammation matters get more frightening. Every month we get another scientific article proving that yet another disease state has been found to be influenced by the presence of long term inflammation in the gums. These diseases that gums health affects include heart disease, stroke, diabetes and many more. So you are now starting to see why these gums, as the seal around the tooth, are so important.
So make sure you come in. Make sure your dentists measures your gums. Consider whether you want to, or can have, those gums treated if they are unwell. If you cant have the gum treatments then seriously consider removing the worst of those teeth to protect your overall medical health.
What gum treatments are we talking about? You should get the tartar removed from your teeth. Learn to brush and floss your teeth perfectly. Get any roughly shaped filling reshaped and polished. Let the dentist monitor your gum to ensure they heal. See a periodontist (gum specialist) if things are bad enough.
Once your gums are good, then feel safe to spend some of your time and finances on good quality fillings. That is only if you need fillings as not everybody does. Often the people who get gum disease do not have any dental decay. The bacteria types involved in each disease are quite different. If you do have decay, the dentist may have to give your teeth temporary or interim fillings while this gum treatment is progressing and the disease ( and inflammation) is stabilized.
In conclusion, it is a sign you have the best dentist when they pick up that little measuring stick at your examination, evaluates and consider treating your gums before anything else is talked about. If they leap into permanent fillings, or bleaching, or crowns or face fillers, or botox, or implants, or dentures without assessing your gums then maybe you should be weary and it is time for a second opinion.