For some reason, most people get an unpleasant feeling at the thought of visiting their dentist. But staying on top of your dental health can save you from even worse unpleasantness later.Aside from the regular check-up appointments – which dentists stress are highly important and can prevent or catch problems early – there are several signs that it may be time to pay a visit to your dentist.
Generally, anything out of the ordinary may indicate it’s time to call your dentist, whether it be tooth pain, bleeding gums or discoloration.
Toothaches are a common reason that people might need to make that appointment. Some symptoms would include a dull throbbing in the jaw that leads to the ear, hot or cold sensitivity, or an obvious sharp pain.
Pain comes in different degrees and has different causes. Usually tooth pain that causes you to wake up in the middle of the night is an automatic visit to the dentist.
But some tooth pain could be triggered by clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth while you sleep. Often, using a nightguard will relieve this pain.
Bleeding gums are another reason to make an appointment with the dentist. If your gums bleed when you floss for longer than a week, see your dentist. Bleeding during brushing, or for no reason at all, also warrants a visit.
Other problematic symptoms for the gums include discoloration or inflammation.
If their tissue is not a coral pink, or a light shade of pink, if it starts to turn red in color, that means there is some type of inflammation caused by bacteria or other immune system issue. Swollen gums are also a reason to see the dentist.
Inflamed or bleeding gums are often a sign of periodontal disease. Smoking, hereditary diseases such as diabetes, and the lack of proper oral hygiene cause periodontal disease, which can lead to cardiovascular disease.
People often don’t connect headaches with dental problems, but can they can be related. Headaches that are felt in the morning, especially accompanied by soreness or stiffness in the neck, could be due to clenching or grinding during the night. These headaches can also be prevented by nightguards.
Other things to be on the lookout for are a bad odor in your mouth, pressure or “bubbles” above your teeth, or white patches on your tongue.
Pressure or “bubbles” that form above the teeth could be infections. And white patches on the side of the tongue that cannot be wiped off could be a sign of oral cancer.
But dental problems do not always present themselves in identifiable ways, which is why it is important to regularly see your dentist rather than wait for the pain to set in.
The tooth actually does not feel decay until it has progressed, sometimes for years. If they feel pain, it’s too late.
McCormick said teeth are like bones – neither have nerves in them. So the pain of decay is not felt until it reaches the core of the tooth, by which time it is too late.
Franklin said it is important to brush your teeth three times a day – after every meal – and consistently floss. The best dentistry is preventive dentistry.