There is an unfortunate tendency among many people to delay seeking treatment for dental issues. Barring an emergency or severe discomfort, many will overlook signs that should, in fact, be sending them to the dentist. Whether it be fear of the dentist or the simple hope that the issue will clear up on its own, they wait and risk having the situation grow worse.
While there are times that certain issues will resolve themselves, here are 5 signs that you need to visit your dentist.
Under normal conditions, your gums are not supposed to bleed. If they do, it could be a sign of inflammation, which if untreated, could lead to periodontal problems such as gum recession, abscesses, and bone loss. An easy way to help monitor whether your gums are bleeding is to use white toothpaste, as the red of your blood will be more visible than when using coloured gels.
Your teeth may prove sensitive to heat, cold, or sweets. You may also experience discomfort from cavities or even defective dental fillings. Plaque build-up is another factor that may cause sensitivity. While there are toothpastes available to alleviate the pain of tooth sensitivity, if the pain appeared suddenly or very recently, it could be an indicator of a more serious issue.
Sensitive, Red, or Swollen Gums
Just as your gums should not bleed, they also should not hurt. If you are experiencing discomfort when brushing or eating, this is more serious than simple bleeding and you should consult your dentist. Infection or an acute abscess can be caused by food accumulating in the gum. This becomes more likely when following plaque build-up. Mild forms of gum disease are typically treatable at home with a little extra care given to your oral hygiene, but if it is a more severe case, your dentist and hygienist will need to intervene.
It’s surprising how many people think of bad breath as normal and simply try to cover it up with mouthwash, mints, and gum. Bad breath, also called halitosis, may be the result of several different conditions including dry mouth, medication, chronic sinus infection, acid reflux, or periodontal (gum) disease. It may also be the sign of uncontrolled diabetes. If your have persistent bad breath, your dentist may be able to determine the cause.
These are tiny ulcers that can be found on the inside of your lip or cheek, your gums, your tongue, or the roof of your mouth. They may occur as the result of an irritant or accidentally biting your lip or cheek and will usually heal within about a week. In other cases, they may be more severe and slower to heal. For some, it may be a frequently recurring problem. These may be caused by stress, food allergies, or something more serious like immunity issues. Cankers that do not heal after a week, or which seem to be spreading, are a sign to see your dentist.
Don’t assume that the pain you are feeling will go away on its own. Your oral health is important. Any of the above signs are reasons to see your dentist, who can prevent small issues from becoming major problems. If it has been longer than 6 months since you’ve seen or spoken to your doctor, you’re due for another visit.