Signs You Should See a Dentist
Regular dental check-ups are essential for not only your oral health, but your overall well-being. Infections that begin on your enamel can eventually make their way into your bloodstream, the bacteria responsible for gum inflammation have been linked to the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, and dentists are often their patients’ first doctors to catch signs of oral cancer. If you haven’t been to a dentist in six months, now is the time to schedule your next appointment. However, there are also times in between regular check-ups when you might require dental assistance. Some of those are obvious emergencies, such as a filling coming loose, but there are often signs things are going wrong before they become emergencies, and this month, we’re discussing some of those circumstances.
Whether they happen all the time or just occasionally, toothaches aren’t something you should tolerate until your next routine appointment. There are several potential causes for toothaches, and what most of them have in common is that they won’t get better without professional care. One reason your teeth may be more sensitive is that you have lost enamel to either decay or erosion. Decay occurs when the acid oral bacteria secrete as a waste product gets stuck on tooth surfaces. If enough acid accumulates, it may go deep enough into the tooth to expose the dental pulp. However, long before that happens, the nerve in the pulp will begin responding to changes in temperature and pressure, alerting you to a problem. Another potential source of acid is from the stomach. If a person frequently suffers acid reflux, the acid may dissolve enamel on their upper back teeth.
Dental erosion can occur due to a person grinding or clenching their teeth. Unfortunately, this would tend to happen in their sleep, when they are unaware of it, but a dentist would be able to recognize the wear patterns of long-time grinding. Possible solutions include prescribing jaw stretches for a person with temporomandibular joint disorder and night guards, which are customized oral appliances that shield teeth.
Although bleeding gums are common, they’re not healthy or normal. Usually, they result from the same bacterial acid that causes tooth decay. It is true that there are times when a person’s hormonal changes make them more vulnerable to gum inflammation, such as when a woman is pregnant or going through menopause. If a person has uncontrolled diabetes, their gum tissue might also be permeable enough to become inflamed by a small amount of acid, but gums don’t bleed for no reason. Infection in the gum pocket, between the root of a tooth and the gum wall adhering to it, can only be cleaned out by a professional dentist or hygienist. If a person’s gums have been injured by a laceration it is also to their benefit to seek disinfectant and stitches as quickly as possible.
You deserve a smile you’re comfortable looking at and showing to other people. If you like the way your teeth look, you’ll feel more incentivized to take care of them, and teeth that are well-aligned are easier to brush and floss. Many dental offices provide options for cosmetic orthodontics, which can correct minor misalignments in adults’ teeth. Most also provide options to whiten your teeth, either in a single office visit or with refillable take-home trays you can use whenever you need them. Dental bonding is another option for evening out crowns of different lengths or that seem too small compared to their gums, and veneers can either mask small cracks and stains or be used to reshape a tooth that is twisted. Getting cosmetic treatment will also generally involve getting your teeth cleaned, so if you’re having other issues you can also get advice about them while you’re discussing which cosmetic treatments you’re eligible for with your dentist.
This newsletter/website is not intended to replace the services of a doctor. It does not constitute a doctor-patient relationship. Information in this newsletter/website is for informational purposes only & is not a substitute for professional advice. Please do not use the information contained herein for diagnosing or treating any condition.