While maintaining good oral health practices, avoiding sugary foods and drinks along with regular dental check-ups are the best way to prevent unpleasant dental surprises, there are a few signs to look out for that might suggest seeing your dentist is a good idea.
Sensitivity, pain or swelling in the mouth isn’t normal and shouldn’t be dismissed. Toothaches can indicate a number of dental issues, so it’s best to book an appointment with your dentist and discuss your concerns. Problems in the mouth usually occur silently long before any symptoms of pain or sensitivity begins, so the longer you leave an issue, the bigger (& more expensive) it may become. If you find pain becomes a problem, book in to see your dentist as soon as you can.
While teeth usually get all the attention, don’t forget to consider your gums in the oral health equation. Throughout the day, bacteria in the mouth grows on every tooth surface and especially at the junction between the gums and teeth. This film of bacteria is known as plaque. If left to accumulate, this sticky plaque hardens to form tartar beneath your gum line. Toxins released from tartar irritate the gums leading to redness, swelling or bleeding which is known as gingivitis. If caught early, gingivitis can be reversed, but left untreated, it can lead progress to more serious gum disease that can cause the gums to shrink, teeth to become loose or even lost altogether. The best way to prevent gingivitis and look after those gums is to brush twice a day, floss daily and get your regular dental check-ups.
Don’t disregard any eating troubles you may be having. Humans are masters of adaptation and can survive even with missing or broken teeth, but that doesn’t mean you have to compromise on comfort or your ability to chew and eat. If you find you have started to avoid chewing on certain teeth, you avoid ice or cold drinks, or you simply avoid foods that you love on the menu because chewing is no longer comfortable, it may be time to get in touch with your dentist.
Tooth sensitivity can really affect the way you live your life. If you avoid eating hot or cold foods because your teeth feel sensitive, it might be worth mentioning it at your next check-up appointment. Sensitivity can be caused by a number of factors, including worn enamel, tooth erosion, tooth decay or even grinding your teeth at night. Your dentist will be able to determine the cause, and therefore the treatment, of your tooth sensitivity. Don’t let a sensitivity become a constant tooth ache.
Putting off a visit to your dentist may be easy, but regular dental check-ups mean that your dentist can identify any problems and treat them before they get any worse. The Australian Dental Association recommends you visit your dentist for a check-up every six months. And it’s not just the teeth and gums that should be checked regularly. Your dentist will also carry out an oral cancer screen during your visits – it could be life saving!