Everyone knows they should visit the dentist twice a year, but how do you know if you need to see your dentist in between routine visits? There is any number of oral issues that can plunge you into misery at a moment’s notice, and almost all dental problems are easier to treat when caught early. How do you know if it’s something you need to go in for or something you can stick out at home? Read on for 10 things that should send you to the dentist’s office straight away.
1. Pain or Swelling
This is one of the top signs you need to see your dentist right away. Your mouth should not hurt, even when you’re chewing. Pain or swelling can indicate many things, such as an infection, advancing tooth decay, or gum disease. Even if your pain subsides after a while, the underlying condition could still be there, causing an even worse problem down the road.
2. Issues With Your Gums
If you see blood while brushing or flossing your teeth, it’s a sign that you could have a problem. Your gums play an important part in your oral health and need just as much attention as your teeth. Bleeding gums is the first sign of gum disease, and it’s vital to start treatment right away to help prevent further damage. Early gum disease, also known as gingivitis, is reversible and can often improve with a good in-office cleaning. Other medical conditions can reveal themselves through the gums, such as diabetes and even cancer. In fact, people with diabetes tend to have more glucose in their saliva, making gum disease worse. That’s why it’s best to get a professional opinion sooner rather than later if your gums are bleeding, swollen or painful.
3. Injury To The Mouth
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but if you suffer any injury to your mouth, you should see the dentist as soon as possible. Any trauma to the mouth can result in damage to your teeth that you can’t see. And you never want to ignore a broken tooth as it can lead to infection and other serious complications.
4. White Spots On Your Teeth
If you happen to notice a white spot on your tooth, it could be a sign of early tooth decay. If you see your dentist early enough, they can take care of it before turning it into a full-blown cavity. You see any white spots on your gum line; this is almost certainly a sign of infection. Infections near the tooth root may not be immediately painful but can lead to a loose tooth or an abscess. Visit your dentist if you see any white spots on your gums or your teeth.
5. Dry Mouth
Dry mouth is a medical condition where the salivary glands do not produce enough saliva to keep the mouth moist. It can be a side effect of literally hundreds of medications; but it can also be caused by smoking, nerve damage, or even as part of the normal aging process. Not only is it very uncomfortable, but it can also affect the way you speak and is a leading cause of bad breath. If you notice that your mouth is uncomfortably dry, it’s time to see your dentist for some relief. There are many ways to treat dry mouth, including special mouthwashes and even medications.
6. Extreme Tooth Sensitivity
Tooth sensitivity may be one of the most annoying dental problems to have, and it’s one that people often suffer through in silence. You want to seek treatment for sensitivity not only to help with the pain but because it’s important to see what is the underlying cause making your teeth feel sensitive. The recession of the gums is one thing that can cause sensitivity, but so can tooth decay and other dental conditions such as grinding or clenching your teeth. Make an appointment to see your dentist, and not only will they take care of the underlying issue, but they can also prescribe special toothpaste to help reduce the symptoms.
7. Mouth Sores That Don’t Go Away
It’s not uncommon to get sores in your mouth, but if you get one that sticks around for a long while, it’s best to visit the dentist right away. Oral cancer is rare, but if you have sores that don’t go away after one or two weeks, have your dentist perform a cancer screening. You may not realize it, but your family dentist can even perform a biopsy to determine exactly what the sore is. It’s best to have any lump, bump, or mouth sore checked out if it sticks around for more than two weeks. Like with any cancer, the earlier you catch it, the better chance you have of being cured.
8. Issues With Dental Work
If you have had any dental work done in the past, be it a filling, crown, or dental implant, you always want to make sure they are in good shape. Broken dental work can cause further injury to the area or even to other parts of the mouth and tongue. If any of your dental work feels “off,” best to have your dentist check it out asap.
9. Teeth That Are Loose, Chipped or Cracked
Besides keeping your smile in good shape, any tooth that becomes loose or otherwise damaged needs immediate dental care. Loose teeth could be a sign that you’re facing advanced gum disease. A chipped or cracked tooth can quickly fall prey to infection, causing a toothache and putting you in danger of losing the tooth altogether. Dentists are always ready to deal with such emergencies and can treat the problem right away.
10. Jaw Issues, Including Pain, Clicking, and LockJaw
Pain and swelling in the jaw area are also signs you need to call a dentist. You may have an uneven bite causing stress on the jaw or other symptoms of TMJ, such as a popping or clicking sound when you open and close your mouth. TMJ pain can be a simple annoyance, but it can also be a serious issue, making eating a miserable chore. Your jaw may even lock up completely, making you unable to open or close your mouth at all. Your dentist can treat signs of TMJ issues and can even reset your jaw completely if it locks up on you.
It comes down to this – never be afraid to call your dentist if you feel that something isn’t the way it should be. It is always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to your oral health. If you currently have any of these issues, schedule your appointment today!