Most patients are advised to visit their dentist at least every six months, for dental checkups and cleanings, which can help keep smiles healthy. But for those that skip out on a checkup or two, it can be all too easy to lose track of time. And if a person doesn’t experience any pain, he or she might even believe that it is fine to go prolonged periods of times between dental visits. Unfortunately this often leads to dental problems, some of which are very noticeable, such as an abscessed tooth, which causes extreme pain, while others can be tough to detect. The good news is that if you do get diagnosed with a dental issue such as a cavity, restorative dentistry can help restore your oral health and preserve your smile!
How to Recognize Dental Issues
As the saying goes, when it comes to dental issues, often knowing you have a problem is half the solution. Just don’t delay restorative treatment when you realize there is an issue, otherwise you risk the problem worsening, and eventually threatening the loss of your tooth.
Though symptoms of dental issues vary person-to-person, depending on the severity of the issue, these are some of the commonly overlooked warning signs that you could be suffering from poor oral health:
- Grey or dark lines along a tooth, which could be signs of a cavity
- Likewise, white patches could indicate the layer beneath your enamel has become exposed due to dental decay. A tooth-colored filling might be needed to protect your tooth.
- Sensitivity to hot and cold foods and beverages is common, but it can be warning signs that your enamel has weakened. Schedule a dental visit to talk with your dentist about the sensitivity, and to see if you may need to alter your dental hygiene routine to help strengthen your teeth, or if restorative action is needed, like a filling.
- If you see or feel a chip or crack, perhaps after suffering a trauma to your mouth, don’t assume it’s a harmless esthetic issue. With wear, chips and cracks can grow, causing entire portions of the tooth to fall out. In many cases the safest form of treatment is a dental crown, which can bear the brunt of your chewing, so the tooth remains in tact.
- Overly red, inflamed or bleeding gums, even if it is only during tooth brushing or flossing, can indicate gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease. You likely have plaque buildup, which is irritating your sensitive gum tissue. If detected early, a simple dental cleaning may be sufficient to reverse the symptoms. However, the longer you wait to see the dentist, the more likely more extensive treatment will become necessary, such as ultrasonic scaling by a dentist or periodontist (a gum specialist), or more drastic measures if the gum disease has progressed.