All of us experience unusual physical symptoms from time to time, and that includes issues involving our teeth and gums. While it’s true that you should avoid calling the dentist every time you experience a slight bit of discomfort or sensitivity, you also should not hesitate to contact your dentist if you believe you have a problem. Like most other physical ailments, the sooner you address an oral health issue, the easier it will be to treat. Here is a list of some common problems experienced by people of all ages, along with a recommendation for if and when you should call your dentist.
- Bleeding gums: If you notice an occasional small amount of blood in the sink after you brush your teeth too hard or floss vigorously, it might be nothing to worry about. But if your gums bleed on a regular basis – whether or not you experience soreness along with that bleeding – you should schedule an appointment to see your dentist right away. Bleeding and/or sore gums can often be a sign of gum disease.
- Bad breath: Having bad breath after eating garlic and onions or some other pungent food is normal; having persistent bad breath that doesn’t go away is not. If you have bad breath on a regular basis, it could be a sign of tooth decay or gum disease. It’s a good idea to call your dentist if you can’t find a remedy for your bad breath on your own. Even if it’s not cavities or gum disease, your dentist can help you find a solution for the bad breath.
- Sensitive teeth: If your teeth are sensitive to hot and cold food and drinks, there could be a variety of reasons why. Worn enamel can cause sensitivity, as well as receding gums and gum disease. Many people find relief from sensitivity by using a toothpaste designed to reduce it. But if your teeth have become sensitive all of a sudden, of if that sensitivity seems to be on or around one certain tooth, you should call your dentist right away since this could be a sign of infection or an abscess.
- Dry mouth: If you suffer from chronic dry mouth, it can be very annoying. It can also increase your risk for developing tooth decay. Dry mouth can be caused by a number of things, including allergies that force you to breath with your mouth open or as a side effect of certain medications, for example. There are over-the-counter products designed to address this issue, but if those don’t work for you, your dentist can help you to alleviate this condition.
- A toothache: Having a toothache doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a cavity, but chances are if you have a toothache that doesn’t go away within a few hours, you either have a cavity or some other dental issue. If you have a persistent toothache, call your dentist and schedule an appointment right away.
If you notice unusual symptoms involving your teeth and gums, a good rule of thumb is this: if it doesn’t go away on its own, or if the pain or sensitivity is very intense, call your dentist. Remember, when it comes to resolving oral health issues, the sooner you make an appointment, the easier they are to address.