Maintaining a healthy and beautiful smile depends greatly on being meticulous with your oral hygiene practices. But your dentist will also play an important role in ensuring you enjoy good oral health all the time.
As such, experts in preventative dentistry say that even if you don’t have any dental emergencies, you need to see your dentist at least twice a year.
You will also have to make an appointment with your dentist if you experience or notice certain dental problems or symptoms that you may not even consider dire or serious. These are dental issues you should never ignore since postponing the right diagnosis and treatment for them won’t do anything good for your oral and overall health (not to mention your pocket).
If you notice you have a cavity on your tooth, no matter how small it is, you need to visit your dentist to have it filled as soon as possible. Keep in mind that if the cavity is not treated immediately, it will continue to grow and destroy a good part of the tooth.
Once the decay becomes bigger, it will be harder to restore it with conventional filling and only a dental crown can fix it by then.
Continuing to ignore a cavity can also cause its bacteria to reach the pulp chamber where the nerve and blood vessels can be found. When this happens, the pulp will become irritated and infected. You will then need to undergo root canal treatment – something that is time-consuming and expensive.
2. Missing teeth
Many people make the mistake of not having a missing tooth or teeth replaced immediately, especially if they are found at the back of the mouth, because of various reasons. However, it is crucial to replace missing teeth because when a tooth is missing, the remaining teeth will lack contact with and support from the neighboring arch.
Failure to replace missing teeth will lead to other dental problems, including:
- The appearance of gaps
- Tooth mobility and loss
- Gum problems.
There really is no excuse for not replacing a lost tooth since there are various tooth replacement options you can choose from that will meet your requirements and budget.
3. A toothache that comes and goes
There are different types of toothaches and the one that you most probably ignore all the time is the pain that comes and goes. Although the pain may go away after a few hours or days, if it keeps coming back, you should consult your dentist.
Tooth pain can be a sign of different dental problems:
- Tooth sensitivity
- Worn enamel
- Periodontal disease
- Tooth infection or abscess
- Dying tooth
Your dental specialist will be able to determine the cause or reasons behind your recurring toothache and provide the best treatment so that you won’t have to suffer from prolonged pain, and to avoid more serious problems.
4. Bleeding gums
It is quite normal to see some blood on your toothbrush or floss, especially if you brush or floss too forcefully. But if you notice or taste blood even if you are just eating an apple or even not doing anything with your teeth at all, don’t ignore this.
Bleeding gums are often a sign of irritation and inflammation. They are also usually the first signs of gum disease. Make an appointment with your dental practitioner immediately if you keep noticing blood along your gum line and on your toothbrush, and often have a metallic taste in your mouth.
5. Bad breath that doesn’t seem to go away
Eating several slices of pizza loaded with garlic, onions, and anchovies will certainly cause you to have temporary bad breath. But if the bad smell doesn’t seem to go away even after flossing, brushing, and rinsing with mouthwash, you may already have halitosis.
You may think bad breath is just a trivial dental issue, but if you can’t get rid of it, you need to see your dentist as soon as possible. This is because lingering halitosis or bad breath may be a sign of a more serious dental issue. This can include:
- A tooth infection
- Gum disease
- Poorly fitting dental appliances
Halitosis may even be a symptom of other underlying health problems such as diabetes, sinus infections, liver or kidney disease, and gastrointestinal issues.
No matter how minor you think a certain dental problem may be, your dentist could have a different opinion. As such, make it a point to see your dentist as soon as possible if you see or feel something unusual in your teeth, gums, and mouth.
Dr. Yvette Porter is the founding dentist at Apple Dental in Newstead, Brisbane, which she started over 11 years ago, and continues to own and practice there today. She works with a team of female dentists who aim to provide gentle, and affordable dental care to patients in Brisbane. Dr. Porter is a member of the Australian Dental Association and is passionate about family, and children’s dentistry, hoping to make their dental experience truly pleasant.