DENTAL PROBLEMS LIKE gum disease and tooth decay can easily sneak up on us if we aren’t careful, which is why regular dental checkups are so essential — even when you’re pretty sure nothing is wrong. For most people, two regular appointments (consisting of professional cleaning and a dental exam) are enough to stay on top of any dental health concerns. In certain circumstances, however, it’s a good idea to come in ahead of schedule.
Any Kind of Tooth Pain or Persistent Mouth Sores
Any amount of tooth pain could indicate that tooth decay has reached the dental pulp. Pain is the body’s warning sign that something is wrong, and tooth pain rarely goes away on its own. An aching jaw or frequent headaches could also indicate a dental problem like a teeth-grinding habit, and the dentist can help. In most cases, mouth sores will resolve on their own, but they can sometimes be a sign of disease or infection, and a dentist should look at those.
Conventional wisdom holds that flossing can result in bleeding gums, but that’s not really true. Being overly aggressive with your flossing technique could cause bleeding (so we recommend a gentle approach, making a C-shape around a tooth with the floss and carefully working down to the gums instead of snapping straight down) or it could be a symptom of gum disease. Brushing shouldn’t cause bleeding either (which is why we recommend soft-bristled brushes and soft brushing motions), and if it is, the dentist should know!
Old Dental Work
If you’ve had dental work before and are having problems with it now, don’t put off a trip to the dentist. The problems will usually get worse, such as a cracked or chipped crown that could lead to infection if it isn’t repaired quickly. A worn-out filling also needs to be replaced to stop bacteria from multiplying in the space between the filling and the tooth.
Serious Medical Conditions
A medical condition like diabetes, gum disease, or an eating disorder can have a serious impact on oral health. Sometimes the treatments for a health condition have effects on oral health, such as medications causing dry mouth. If you are fighting a chronic disease or have started a new prescription, your dentist should know about it.
Chronic Bad Breath
There aren’t many things more mortifying than being in a close face-to-face social situation and realizing your breath is less than minty fresh, but bad breath isn’t always just a superficial issue. It may be a symptom of gum disease or other health problems. If you struggle to keep your breath smelling pleasant, talk to the dentist about it so they can discover the underlying cause.
Put Those Regular Visits in Your Calendar!
We hope you are able to keep up with your regular dental appointments, but whether or not you can see the dentist every six months, you should definitely come in for a visit if you experience any of these issues we’ve discussed.