Prosthodontics, Implants, Cosmetic & Reconstructive Dentistry

When Should You Make an Appointment with Your Dentist

It is advisable to visit a dentist at least every six months. However, due to busy schedules and other reasons, many people are unable to make these regular visits. Sometimes we don’t realize that we need a dental checkup until it is too late. Regular dental checkups are supposed to be preventive. If a problem lingers on for a long time, it could be expensive and might take a long time to heal. It could also lead to other, more severe conditions. That is why it is essential to be on the lookout for those signs that you need to make an appointment with your dentist. Here are some of the signs that should prompt you to make that call to your dentist’s office:

Aching Gums

Pain in the gums is a sure sign of a severe dental problem. Thus, you need to book an appointment with your dentist right away before the pain becomes unbearable. Several issues could cause aching gums, and only an experienced dentist can identify the real problem and offer the necessary treatment.

Gums provide overall support for our teeth. They are the basic structure of a healthy mouth. Thus, they need to be well-taken care of to prevent gum diseases and other serious health issues. Painful gums could be experienced when you drink, eat, brush your teeth, or floss. Sometimes the pain could be accompanied by bleeding, which is also a significant sign of an underlying problem. Other times the pain could be caused by improper brushing or flossing techniques, chemotherapy, gum disease, tobacco use, and hormonal changes. Gum disease will cause pain and bleeding. The only way to resolve the problem is by keeping your gums healthy.

Here are some common causes of painful gums that require proper and immediate dental intervention:

  • Cuts and abrasions — Aching gums could be a result of a simple cut or abrasion. If you have braces or other dental hardware, like retainers or dentures, they can irritate the tissue, resulting in gum pain. Your dentist should know what to do to take the pain away.
  • Canker sores — Are painful ulcers that develop in our mouths and result in painful gums. Canker sores are caused by injury or stress to the mouth tissues. They could also result from an underlying health condition, like gastrointestinal disease, nutritional deficiencies, or an impaired immune system.
  • Gum diseases/infections — If gum pain is accompanied by bleeding or sensitivity, it could result from a gum infection or gum disease. Gingivitis is the mildest and most common gum disease in the country that causes sensitivity and chronic pain. It should be treated well by removing the plaque formed on the teeth and around the gums. If not, it could result in severe gum infection.

If any or more of these symptoms are experienced, along with gum pain, it is advisable to contact your dentist right away. Proper diagnosis and treatment are needed to get rid of the pain and promote healthy gums.

Aching Tooth/Teeth

Just like aching gums, toothaches are a sign of an underlying problem. Therefore, they should not be ignored. Several issues, including the following, could cause toothaches and sensitivity:

  • Broken teeth — If you break or fracture your tooth, it will be painful.
  • Tooth decay — Tooth decay results in a cavity, and it affects the outer coating of the tooth and its inner layer. Dental cavities start small, sometimes with no symptoms. But as they progress, so are the symptoms. You might experience pain with cavities, even without prior warning, especially when you eat or drink cold food or bite down. Sometimes the pain is accompanied by sensitivity.
  • Abscess— A dental abscess is a pocket of pus that forms around an infected tooth’s root. It could damage your tooth. Thus, you need to see a dentist right away to save the tooth. If it is not treated well and on time, a dental abscess can spread even to the head, neck, and other body parts.
  • Grinding your teeth— Some people develop the habit of grinding or clenching their teeth. Occasional grinding or clenching of teeth could be harmless. But when it occurs more regularly, it could result in teeth damage and other teeth-related complications.
  • A damaged filling— Dental fillings are used to repair cavities and protect a damaged tooth against further decay. But they do not last forever. Dental fillings can be damaged by factors such as teeth grinding and improper brushing of teeth. Others become damaged after some time. A damaged filling could cause pain, an indication that you might need to have the filling redone.

Only an experienced dentist can determine the reason behind the pain, offer the necessary treatment and help prevent similar future issues.

Here are some of the signs that you might be having a toothache:

  • A sharp, constant, or throbbing pain in the tooth. For some people, the pain is only experienced when they apply some pressure to the affected tooth
  • Swelling around the tooth
  • Headache or fever
  • Foul-tasting drainage coming from the infected tooth

Constant Bad Breath

Bad breath, also called halitosis, could result from many dental issues, including poor oral health habits and even more severe health problems. Sometimes it is aggravated by the type of food you consume and other unhealthy lifestyle habits like smoking. If you have tried everything possible to freshen your breath with no success, you must consult your dentist immediately.

What you eat affects your breath. All the food you eat is first broken down in the mouth. If you eat foods that have strong odors, like onions and garlic, your breath will carry the smell of those foods. Sometimes brushing, flossing, and use of mouthwash can cover up the odor, though temporarily.

If you do not brush your teeth as regularly as it is required, food particles remain in your mouth much longer than necessary. They cause bacterial growth in between your teeth, your gums, and your tongue. It may be another reason you are experiencing bad breath.

However, a constant bad breath is a sign of something worse. It could be an indication of a gum disease, which is caused by a buildup of plaque on a tooth. Bacteria growth on a tooth will cause the formation of toxins, which irritates the gums. If gum disease goes untreated, it could develop into a significant issue that can damage your gum and jawbone.

When you visit your dentist, the first recommendation could be professional teeth cleaning to see whether the foul odor will go away. If not, your dentist will conduct a series of examinations to detect periodontal disease and any other problem that could cause bad breath.

Bleeding Gums

Bleeding gums are not only a sign of gum disease but other health issues. Occasional bleeding of gums could be a result of brushing teeth or flossing vigorously. It could also be because of wearing dentures that do not fit well. But when bleeding becomes more frequent, it could be an indication of a more severe problem. That is why it is advisable to see a dentist immediately you notice some blood on your gums. Some of the dental issues that could result in bleeding gums are:

  • Periodontitis — Is an advanced form of gum disease caused by a severe infection to the gums. Periodontitis is caused by bacteria that have been allowed to accumulate on your teeth or gums. It progresses with time and could damage your teeth and bones. Thus, the disease must be treated early. Your dentist will also recommend the maintenance of proper oral hygiene to prevent its recurrence.
  • Leukemia — Leukemia is a cancer of the blood. Blood platelets help a human’s body to stop bleeding. A person with leukemia has a low platelet count, making it harder for them to stop bleeding in various parts of their body, including their gums.
  • Vitamin deficiency — You need enough vitamins and minerals to maintain good overall health, including good oral health. Vitamins C and K are primarily associated with oral health. A deficiency in these vitamins could cause your gums to bleed easily. The first aspects your dentist will check are your Vitamins C and K levels immediately you check in with unexplained bleeding gums.

Mouth Sores

Mouth sores are quite common and could affect all people, young and old alike. Sores appear on soft tissues inside the mouth, including the cheeks, lips, tongue, gums, roof, and floor of the mouth. They can also develop on the esophagus, which is the tube that leads food down the stomach. Canker sores are a common type of mouth sores that are usually less serious. They start as a slight irritation and could last a maximum of two weeks. However, if they appear more severe or stay much longer than that, it could be more serious.

Severe mouth sores could indicate a viral infection like herpes simplex or cancer of the mouth. That is why you should see your dentist as soon as you develop some mouth sores. Some of the conditions that could trigger mouth sores include:

  • Cold sores — Are usually accompanied by slight flu-like symptoms like body aches, low fever, and swollen lymph They usually only affect a particular part of the mouth and cause it to tingle or burn before sores develop.
  • Anemia — Anemia is a condition that occurs when red blood cells are low, damaged, or impaired to the point of causing problems in the way the blood transports oxygen through various parts of the body. Anemia causes pale, cold skin, dizziness, pale gums, light-headedness, decreased or increased blood pressure, fatigue, pounding, or a racing heart.
  • Gingivostomatitis — Gingivostomatitis is a type of infection that affects the mouth and gums of children, which results in tender wounds on the gums and cheeks of the affected person. The sores look a lot more like canker sores and appear yellow or greyish outside but reddish in the enter. Mild-flu-like signs could accompany Gingivomatitis.
  • Oral thrush — Is mostly a yeast infection that develops in the mouth and tongue. It is common with children and infants and could indicate a weak immune system in adults. It presents as creamy-white bumps that could appear on the tongue, gums, tonsils, and inner cheeks. The bumps are usually painful and could cause difficulty in swallowing, reduced appetite, and taste loss. Oral thrush could also manifest in the form of cracked skin at the mouth corners.

Receding Gums

Receding gums occur when the margin of a gum tissue surrounding a tooth pulls back or wears out, exposing more of the tooth or its root. When you have receding gum, gaps or pockets form between the tooth and gum line. This creates more room for growth and the building up of bacteria. Receding gums should be treated immediately they occur as they could cause severe damage to the supporting tissue and bone structures. Eventually, it could lead to loss of teeth.

Receding gums is a common dental problem. However, it can easily go unnoticed as it is a problem that occurs gradually. The first sign is usually sensitivity, or you could notice that a tooth or teeth are appearing longer than usual. You could also feel a notch near the gum line. It is not something you want to ignore. If you suspect that your gum could be receding, it is advisable to contact your dentist right away. Earlier intervention could prevent further damage, and your dentist can quickly repair the affected area before the problem escalates.

Gums recede for several reasons. It could result from a periodontal disease, whereby a bacterial infection destroys gum tissues and the bone that keeps your teeth in place. It could also be a genetic problem, whereby some people are more susceptible to the disease than others. In some cases, it is caused by aggressive brushing of teeth. If you have been brushing your teeth the wrong way or too hard, you could cause your gum to recede.

A mild recession can be treated by professional deep cleaning of the affected area. But if there’s the excess loss of bone and pockets that are already too deep, your dentist will recommend gum surgery to repair the damage. The latter is more expensive and could take a longer time to heal.

Chipped or Damaged Tooth

The enamel that covers our teeth is hard and the most mineralized tissue in the body. It explains why you can still bite on hard foods and other substances without breaking or damaging your teeth. However, the strength of the enamel has its limits. Greater pressure on the tooth can chip or damage it, especially if it already has an underlying problem like decay. The kind of pressure that can damage your teeth is, for instance, a hard fall, a blow to the face, or biting something extremely hard. When this happens, an experienced dentist’s immediate intervention is required if you wish to save that tooth.

When a tooth is chipped, fractured, or broken, it becomes more prone to infections. An infection could cause you to lose the tooth in the end. Dentists advocate for early interventions that could save a natural tooth. That is why it is important to immediately make an appointment with your dentist after your tooth is chipped or damaged.

Treatment for a chipped or broken tooth depends on how severe the damage is. If only a tiny piece of the enamel has broken off, the repair can be done quickly at the dentist’s office. A severely damaged tooth could require a more costly and lengthy procedure such as the following:

  • Dental bonding or filling — Dental filling is required when only a tiny piece of enamel has chipped off a tooth. If the repair is done on a front tooth or visible when you smile, your dentist will use a bonding procedure. Bonding utilizes a composite resin whose color matches that of your teeth.
  • Dental crown or cap — A dental crown is necessary if a more significant part of the tooth has broken off or is damaged. Placement of a dental crown or cap is more intrusive as it requires prior preparation of the affected tooth before the installation is made. Your dentist may need to remove more of the affected tooth to create enough room for the installation. There are permanent and temporary dental crowns to choose from, depending on your preference and the severity of the damage.

Find a Tarzana Dentist Near Me

Oral health is crucial as it determines your overall health. A problem in your mouth could affect your entire well-being. Therefore, if you cannot visit a dental office as regularly as you should, it is crucial to know when to make an appointment with your dentist. Even the slightest dental issue should be treated as an emergency, as it can escalate into a significant and more costly dental and health problem. If you would like to make an appointment with an experienced  dentist in Tarzana, CA, contact us at 818-708-3232. At Tarzana Dental Care, we are a full-service general prosthodontics and cosmetic dental practice committed to providing high-quality dental care at an affordable cost.