Whether you have been skipping your regular six-month cleanings or you go religiously but face an issue in between visits to dentist, sometimes there are dental problems that can trigger a special trip. These can range from tooth pain and inflamed gums to toothaches and white spots on the teeth. Here are five signs that mean you need to see your dentist.
A sore that doesn’t heal: If you notice a sore in your mouth, a lump, or a red or white patch on your cheeks, gums or tongue that doesn’t go away within a couple of weeks, call your dentist, advises Reader’s Digest Best Health. Oral cancer is a possibility, but the good news is that when caught early, the chances of recovery are good. At every cleaning, your dentist likely scans for signs of oral cancer, but you can do self-checks at home each month with a mirror and the proper lighting.
Toothache: A nagging toothache can be annoying but it can also signal a cavity or abscessed tooth. Persistent dental pain is not something you should just live with. If you let it go, that cavity could get larger and eventually kill the root of your tooth. That leads to a root canal, dental implants and crowns, which all involve many dental visits at great expense. Remember, the pain won’t get better without treatment, it will only get worse.
Swollen gums: While sometimes you may get a little bleeding and soreness after vigorous tooth brushing and flossing, it becomes a more concerning issue when your gums are constantly red, bleeding and swollen. This could signal gingivitis or gum inflammation. This is an early stage of gum disease that can be reversed with proper oral care and professional help to remove the soft, sticky plaque that coats your teeth and gums.
Jaw pain: Waking up with jaw pain is something that afflicts millions of Americans. It’s got a pretty common root cause, usually, the result of teeth grinding while sleeping. However, jaw pain could also signal TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder, a misaligned bite, an abscessed tooth, osteomyelitis (an infection that travels through the bloodstream to affect the bones and surrounding tissues), gum disease and cavities. You may be prescribed antibiotics or you may be given a mouth guard to wear at night to prevent grinding. Your dentist will determine the root cause and come up with a treatment plan accordingly.
White spots on teeth: These can be the first signs of dental decay, involving an infection in the tooth caused by dissolving of the enamel. This is due to the acid produced by bacteria. White spots can also be caused by dry mouth, consuming too many acidic foods and beverages, high-sugar diets and acid reflux. Your dentist can fix this through polishing, whitening, bonding or veneers.
If you suffer from any of the above, make an appointment with Dr. Gary Demetriou at 978-794-0010.