Sometimes it’s easy to tell when you need to see your dentist. If a tooth is broken or if you are experiencing severe tooth pain, it’s time to make an appointment or even seek emergency dental care in severe cases. However, there are some other warning signs that you need to get to a dentist, and while they’re common, many people tend to miss them.
It’s Been More than Six Months Since Your Last Checkup
Everyone – including both children and adults – should see their dentists for checkups and cleaning twice each year. If you’re one of the millions of Americans who puts it off, you could be setting yourself up for some pretty serious oral health issues in the future. Going to the dentist every six months is not just about that squeaky-clean feeling you have when you leave; it also gives your dentist the opportunity to perform a thorough examination to ensure that your mouth, gums, and teeth are healthy. If there’s an issue, addressing it early on is the best way to prevent more serious complications down the road.
You Have Swelling in Your Jaw
Although most people assume that they would experience searing pain if they had an issue with their teeth, this is not always the case. In many cases, you can develop an abscess, which is a collection of pus that forms inside your gums or even in the bone that holds your teeth in place. It is caused by a bacterial infection, and in most cases, it requires antibiotics to treat. While pain certainly can occur with an abscess, it doesn’t always. Many people notice swelling and tightness – and sometimes even pressure – in the jaw where the abscess is located. If you have any of these symptoms, you should make an appointment with your dentist right away. Treating an abscess early is the key to preventing widespread infection.
You Notice Changes in Your Mouth
If you notice something different going on inside your mouth, such as white or textured spots on your gums, tongue, or even in your throat, it’s important to see your dentist right away rather than putting it off. These are warning signs of mouth and throat cancer, a condition from which 40% of all patients diagnosed will succumb within five years. The earlier the symptoms are caught, the earlier treatment can begin, and the better the outcome will be. See your dentist every six months, and if you notice any unusual changes in your mouth, make an appointment right away.
Your Gums are Bleeding
Although bleeding gums are very, very common and most people will experience it at some point in their lives, seeing blood in the sink while brushing is not normal. Statistically, only 21% of people make an appointment to address it while 28% just ignore it completely. Unfortunately, bleeding gums is almost always the first sign of gum disease, which is a potentially serious condition that can lead to not only oral health issues, but also issues throughout your entire body. If you experience bleeding gums – especially if you experience it regularly – see your dentist right away.
If you’re brushing with a soft toothbrush and flossing daily, you’re already on the right track to keep your mouth as healthy as possible. Sometimes, however, professional intervention is absolutely necessary. If you experience any of these signs or symptoms – or if you have any other concerns about your oral health – making an appointment with your dentist is the best course of action.
My teenage daughter woke up this morning with pressure in her lower gums, and they are starting to swell. It makes sense that you should visit a dentist immediately if your gums experience swelling, tightness, or pressure. I’ll look for an emergency dentist that I can take her to today or tomorrow to be treated.