Even with regular check-ups, things can go wrong when it comes to your teeth and gums. Know when to contact your dentist with these symptoms you should watch for.
THE BEST HEALTH
With regular dentist visits, we all should be able to keep on top of any problems that might affect our mouths. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't be aware of those symptoms that warrant a quicker appointment especially for those of us who leave more time than we should between visits. 'It's not that hard for people to look in their mouths when cleaning their teeth to see if there's anything that wasn't there before,' says Dr. Edmund Peters, a professor in the school of dentistry at the University of Alberta. Just keep in mind that by the time the signs begin to show up in your mouth, the problem is likely advanced' so never hesitate to phone your dentist. Here's Dr. Peters' list of the dental symptoms you should never ignore.
Dental symptom #1: Changing gums
Gum disease includes gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and periodontitis (a more advanced condition, which, if untreated, could lead to tooth loss) and is caused by plaque, an almost invisible sticky film containing bacteria that can form on a clean tooth within 24 hours. With time, this plaque can harden into tartar or calculus. The tartar can accumulate under your gum line, causing even more inflammation.
Contact your dentist if you experienced these symptoms:
- Changes in color, for instance from a normal pink color to red or bluish-red
- Swollen gums with a spongy feel
- Receding gums, making the teeth look larger' you may see some of the root
- Pus, odor, or new spaces forming between the teeth
Dental symptom #2: White spots on teeth
Dental decay is essentially an infection in your tooth which starts in the hard enamel dissolving in response to acid produced bacteria. The first signs are white spots that form in the very early stages.
When decay begins, particularly if this is happening between the teeth, you probably won't be aware of it, which is why regular check-ups, including x-rays, are so important. At this point, you may be able to stop the process before it develops into an actual cavity that requires a filling. So if you notice any white spots that weren't there before, it's worth getting them checked out.
Dental symptom #3: An increased sensitivity to hot and cold
Once decay moves through the enamel and into the center of the tooth, which contains the nerves and the blood vessels, you will likely begin to experience noticeable symptoms, such as new or increased sensitivity to hot and cold or to certain foods. If this occurs, make a dental appointment immediately, as the earlier you treat a cavity, the better.
Sensitivity to hot and cold could also be a sign of less serious problems, such as teeth grinding' which you maybe unaware you're doing, especially if it happens at night or a filling that needs to be fixed. It's always worth mentioning this to your dentist.
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