If you have been deliberately postponing your routine dental visit or are simply waiting on a problem to arise – we get it. It is very common for people to actively avoid doctors, dentists and hospitals unless there is a problem. Regular checkups, physicals, dental cleanings, etc., can seem inconvenient and, even though they are extremely important for your health, not immediately pressing because in all likelihood you feel fine.
Feeling fine is all well and good, unless you are unable to detect an issue that is slowly becoming a real problem. There are two main reasons dentists recommend everyone gets two routine cleanings and examinations per year – first, to help protect your mouth against issues like tartar buildup and gum disease, and second, to identify and treat any developing issues before they grow in severity.
For anyone who hasn’t been to the dentist in a while and is experiencing unpleasant symptoms, I implore you to reconsider and not wait for your issues to compound. Here are five sure-fire signs that it’s time to pay a visit to the dentist:
- You have a new tooth sensitivity. Is your morning cup of coffee or evening scoop of ice cream a source of growing discomfort for your teeth? Tooth sensitivity can often be treated with a special toothpaste, but occasionally it can be a sign of worn-down enamel, receding gums or even a cavity. If you are avoiding hot and cold foods because your teeth are sensitive, it’s important to find out if there isn’t an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.
- Your gums are red and swollen. Red, swollen gums are an indication of gingivitis, the first stage of periodontal (gum) disease. If gingivitis isn’t treated immediately, it will progress and may eventually result in tooth, bone and supporting tissue loss. If you are experiencing these symptoms, a dentist will be able to identify what the cause is, provide a treatment recommendation and help educate you on how to care for your mouth going forward.
- Your tooth aches. Tooth pain can range from tolerable to “I need to go to the emergency room right now!” Even minor tooth pain can be a signal that a cavity has developed or a filling has come loose. More intense toothaches may be an indication of a more serious condition, like an infected nerve or gum disease. The point here is that if your tooth is hurting, there is a problem. Trust me – a visit to the dentist while your pain level is still in the “tolerable” range is much better than the alternative. Don’t wait to find out what the other end of the pain scale feels like.
- Your bad breath won’t go away. If you ate a particularly garlicy dish or other foods known to cause bad breath, don’t sweat it (but please, mouthwash!). However, if you have constant, lingering bad breath, that may be something else entirely. In many cases, bad breath signals – yep, you guessed it – gum disease. It can also be the result of dry mouth or a side effect from certain medications. If your breath is an ongoing issue, a dentist will help identify the root cause and develop a treatment plan so you can gain back your smile and confidence.
- Your last dental visit is a distant memory. This brings me around full-circle to my original point – if you can’t remember the last time you made a dental appointment, make one ASAP. By visiting the dentist twice a year for a routine cleaning and examination, you will help ensure your teeth stay clean and healthy and avoid those little issues becoming serious concerns. Remember – you only get one set of “chompers,” so take care of them!
If you are currently experiencing any of these symptoms, don’t wait – call today and schedule an appointment (we accept most forms of insurance). Our staff and team of highly trained dentists is passionate about making sure your experience is as comfortable as possible and that you leave with a healthy, beautiful smile!