Dentists and their teams of hygienists do a whole lot more than just clean teeth and fill cavities. If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort between your bi-annual visits to the dentist, then call to schedule a visit soon.
Any of these symptoms are also things to watch for, signs you need to see a dentist.
1. Pain and Swelling
Persistent pain or swelling in your teeth or gums could be a sign that one of many different things is wrong, and you should have your dentist check for infection or gum disease. Lingering pain isn’t normal, and you don’t have to just live with it. Even if the pain does go away at some point, the core problem could still remain.
2. Gum Problems
Sometimes your gums need just as much attention as your teeth. Make an appointment if you notice that your gums are:
- Puffy or inflamed
- Swollen with a spongy texture
- Turning bluish-red rather than normal pink
- Have pus or an odor
- Are beginning to recede
The dentist will check for gum disease and possible pockets that are formed by plaque.
3. White Spots on Teeth
These indicate early stages of tooth decay and, if caught soon enough, it is possible to halt the decay process even before a cavity fully forms.
4. Problems With Dental Work
Even given the sturdiness of fillings, crowns, implants and other dental work, with everything we chew, it’s possible to loosen the fixtures in our mouths. If any of your dental work feels loose, crooked, or in any way off, let the dentist fix the problem quickly to prevent additional issues.
5. Changes of Color or Texture in Mouth
If anything unusual has been happening in the color or texture of your mouth, from persistent white or red patches appearing to lumps forming where there were none, check with your dentist to address the problem.
6. Increased Sensitivity to Hot and Cold
New sensitivity to certain foods or temperatures can occur when decay moves through the enamel to center of tooth, and the earlier you treat a cavity the better. Sensitivity could also be a sign of different problem, such as teeth grinding or a filling that needs to be fixed.
7. Persistent Bad Breath
If proper oral hygiene–brushing twice a day, flossing daily etc.–isn’t improving your breath, you may have a bigger problem. Whether bad breath is a symptom or just something you personally face, your dentist could have personalized suggestions that will help.
8. Difficulty Chewing or Swallowing
This is not normal, and you should be sure to only eat soft foods or liquid until you see the dentist in order to avoid aggravating the problem.
9. Jaw Problems
An uneven bite, popping when you chew, or pain when you close your jaw is more than just annoying; it could become a more serious issue if allowed to continue. Your dentist will be able to help, or recommend an orthodontist who can assist you.
10. Lingering Sores
From biting your tongue or cheek to eating a fruit that doesn’t agree with you, mouth sores happen. But if they last in your mouth for a week or longer, it’s time to get a dentist’s opinion. Canker sores, cold sores, leukoplakia, and candidiasis are some possible signs of a bigger problem, all varying in severity and cause, and can be traced to either a virus or an infection.
Oral health is an important part of your overall health. You wouldn’t let a persistent problem go untreated in the rest of your body, so start treating your mouth with the care and concern that it deserves, and contact your dentist for an expert’s opinion if you have any questions.