Visiting the dentist is not always at the top of our priority list, but it is crucial to maintaining good oral health. Often, people assume that they only need to visit the dentist when they have a toothache or a dental emergency.
However, some signs indicate the need for a dental checkup. They may seem insignificant initially but can lead to more severe dental problems if left untreated.
1. Your Gums Bleed When You Floss
Bleeding gums may be a sign of gum disease known as periodontitis. It occurs when plaque and bacteria build up along the gum line, causing inflammation.
Gum disease can lead to tooth loss and can even affect your overall health if left untreated. Regular checkups with your dentist can identify and treat gum disease early, preventing further oral complications.
2. Your Teeth Are Sensitive to Hot and Cold
Tooth sensitivity can result from various factors, including tooth decay, gum disease, or tooth grinding. It can also be a sign of a cracked tooth or an exposed tooth root. Sensitivity can make eating and drinking uncomfortable. It is essential to identify the underlying cause to prevent further damage.
3. You Have Dry Mouth
Dry mouth occurs when the salivary glands do not produce enough saliva. Saliva helps neutralize acid and prevent tooth decay by washing away bacteria and food particles. If left untreated, dry mouth can lead to cavities and gum disease.
It can also be a side effect of medication, so it’s crucial to discuss any changes in medication with your dentist. Your dentist can find the cause of your dry mouth and prescribe treatments to restore moisture, such as OTC synthetic salivas containing xylitol or hydroxyethyl cellulose to protect your teeth.
4. You Are Pregnant
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can increase your risk of gum disease and tooth decay. Pregnant women may also experience pregnancy gingivitis, which causes swelling, redness, and bleeding of the gums. More frequent dental checkups while pregnant can help prevent these issues.
5. You Have Receding Gums
Receding gums are due to gum tissue pulling back from the tooth, exposing the tooth’s root, and leading to sensitivity and even tooth loss if left untreated. Receding gums can be a sign of gum disease, but it can also be caused by brushing too hard or using a toothbrush with hard bristles.
Your dentist may recommend dental bonding to protect the exposed tooth root or gum graft surgery, to prevent further damage.
6. You Struggle to Chew or Swallow
Difficulty chewing or swallowing can signify various dental issues, including tooth decay, gum disease, or an abscessed tooth. It can also be a symptom of a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ).
TMJ is a joint dysfunction that affects the jaw and can cause pain, clicking, or popping when you open your mouth. Your dentist can evaluate the underlying cause and recommend treatment options.
7. Your Teeth Are Loose or Shifting
If your teeth are loose or shifting, it could be a sign of advanced gum disease or an underlying health condition like Sjogren’s syndrome. It could also be a result of injury or teeth grinding.
Your dentist can determine the cause and may recommend a custom night guard to prevent bruxism or scaling and root planing to reverse severe gum disease.
8. Your Jaw Pops or Hurts in the Morning
If you wake up with a sore jaw or hear popping sounds when you open your mouth, it could be a sign of TMJ disorder. TMJ disorder can also cause headaches, earaches, and neck pain. Your dentist can diagnose and recommend treatment options, including oral appliances or surgery.
9. You Have Bumps or Sores in Your Mouth
Bumps or sores in your mouth can be a sign of a viral or bacterial infection, canker sores, or even oral cancer. You should schedule a dental visit if you have any bumps or sores that don’t heal within two weeks.
Schedule a Visit at Valley Dental Care
Regular dental checkups are essential for maintaining good oral health and preventing dental issues from becoming severe. At Valley Dental Care, our experienced and friendly staff is dedicated to providing personalized care.
Our state-of-the-art facilities are equipped with the latest technology to provide the best treatment options. Schedule your appointment today, and let us help you maintain a healthy smile.