It is recommended that you visit the dentist routinely for regular dental examinations and professional cleanings. Sometimes, however, oral health problems can occur in between appointments. When this is the case, you should never wait until your next regularly scheduled examination, but should, instead, seek attention from your dentist right away. If you experience any of the following symptoms (or notice other unexplained oral health changes), then we strongly encourage you to schedule an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible.
10 Signs You Need to See a Dentist Right Away
1. You Have a Toothache
Pain is the body’s way of letting your brain know that something is wrong. If you have a persistent toothache, then this is an indication of an oral health problem. Toothaches can be the result of a variety of issues such as tooth decay, receding gums, an infection, a fracture, or many other issues.
2. You Can’t Get Rid of Your Bad Breath
Bad breath is normal when you first wake up in the morning or after eating pungent foods such as garlic or onions. Bad breath, however, is not normal if it persists. If you feel like you have tried everything (brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash), but your bad breath will not go away, then it is important to see your dentist or doctor.
Persistent bad breath can be caused by a variety of issues such as dry mouth, periodontal (gum) disease, an infected tooth, a sinus infection, or even bacterial infections of the stomach or respiratory system. Most of these are serious concerns that need to be medically addressed right away.
3. Your Teeth Are Sensitive
If you suddenly start to experience sensitivity to temperature changes or sugary foods, you should schedule a dental examination. Tooth sensitivity can be the result of receding gums (which sometimes occurs due to gum disease). Sensitivity can also be the result of tooth decay and cavities that should be treated as soon as possible.
4. Your Gums Are Bleeding, Swollen, or Painful
Gum tissues that are red, inflamed, bleeding, or painful are symptoms of periodontal (gum) disease, a serious bacterial infection of the gums. In addition to causing issues in the mouth, left untreated, gum disease can result in several, serious systemic illnesses that affect the overall health of your entire body.
5. Your Tooth Is Chipped or Cracked
If you chip or crack a tooth, we encourage you to schedule an appointment right away. Minor chips and breaks can create sharp edges on your teeth that can seriously damage the soft tissues inside your mouth. More severely broken teeth can expose the inside of the teeth to harmful bacteria, leading to an infection of the tooth’s pulp and the need for treatment with a root canal therapy and dental crown.
If addressed right away, however, secondary problems associated with broken teeth can be avoided altogether by treating the tooth with dental bonding (in the case of minor chips) or a dental inlay, onlay, or crown (in the case of a more serious fracture).
6. You Have a Loose Permanent Tooth
Healthy permanent teeth should never feel loose. Whether you’ve incurred an injury or impact to the face/jaw or have a tooth that is loose for no discernable reason, you should visit the dentist as soon as possible. This could indicate serious damage, decay, or disease that is causing the tooth to loosen. This is a symptom that indicates an issue that needs to be diagnosed and addressed right away to preserve your tooth and your well-being.
7. Your Tooth Feels Numb
While pain is a telltale indicator of a problem, a lack of feeling can also mean that something is wrong. Healthy nerves shouldn’t be in pain, but they should always be able to feel. A tooth or area of the mouth that is numb and has no feeling in it could be an indication of a serious infection or other problem that is occurring inside the mouth.
8. There Is Pus in Your Mouth
It’s not a pretty subject, but pus is a sign of a serious bacterial infection, and bacterial infections can be seriously scary if they are not addressed right away. Whether your gums are oozing pus, you notice pus coming from a tooth, or there is pus pooling somewhere in your mouth, you need to seek medical attention as soon as possible for an examination, antibiotics, and further treatment.
9. Your Jaw Hurts or Won’t Open
Having a jaw that won’t open (lockjaw), a jaw that pops, clicks, or grinds when you open and close your mouth, or a jaw that just plain hurts are all signs of a health problem called temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). While most symptoms of TMD are not emergencies, it can and should be treated by a dentist because the symptoms of TMD can be debilitating.
10. You Have a Sore That Won’t Heal
Sores that won’t heal (in your mouth or elsewhere) can be a sign of cancer or precancerous lesions. These should be checked out by a dentist or your doctor as soon as possible.
Comprehensive Dental Examinations and Treatments in Hilliard
The American Dental Association recommends that healthy adults and children visit the dentist at least once a year for a dental examination and twice a year for routine cleanings. If you have existing, ongoing dental issues or health concerns that put you at an increased risk for oral health problems, then it might be recommended that you visit the dentist more frequently.
Routine dental exams and oral hygiene appointments are intended to help prevent serious oral health problems from developing and to detect and treat them before they become serious enough to cause noticeable symptoms. This proactive approach to dental care not only helps to prevent oral health problems from developing, but it is also usually much less expensive than the cost of treating serious oral health problems after they have progressed.
To learn more about the importance of preventive dental care or to schedule an appointment for your next dental examination and cleaning, we welcome you to contact Smile Hilliard or request an appointment online today.