You probably already know that severe, unexplained tooth pain means that you need to visit a dentist ASAP, but there are other reasons why immediate dental care may be in order that aren't so obvious. Following are five signs that you should make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible.
Inflamed gums signify the onset of a condition known as gingivitis. Gingivitis is caused by bacteria that is present in plaque. Besides painful, swollen gums, another sign of gingivitis is bleeding from the gums during brushing. Left untreated, gingivitis can progress to a condition called periodontitis, which can ultimately lead to loss of teeth.
White spots on the surface of your teeth can indicate that your teeth are beginning to decay. They are caused by bacteria that is eating away at tooth enamel. Because this condition is generally not accompanied by noticeable pain, many people don't consider it a reason to seek dental care. However, left untreated, these white spots can evolve into serious infections that can result in loss of teeth.
Abnormalities in the Interior of the Mouth
You should make a point of checking the inside of your mouth for any sign of abnormalities at least twice per week. Symptoms that indicate that you need to see a dentist as soon as possible include:
- Dislocations anywhere on the interior of your mouth.
- Lumps or abrasions.
- Any type of general swelling or inconsistency.
Interior or exterior canker sores that don't respond to over-the-counter treatment products are another sign that you need to schedule a visit with your dentist in a timely fashion.
Persistent Dry Mouth
There are many causes for a dry mouth -- for instance, some prescription drugs can restrict saliva flow significantly, and even the normal aging process can result in a dry mouth. However, if you suddenly begin to experience dry mouth, you should make an appointment with your dentist because this could be a sign of bacterial buildup.
If you routinely wake up with headaches in the morning, they could be the result of grinding your teeth while you sleep. Although grinding your teeth is not a symptom of mouth disease or tooth decay, it might cause dental problems if allowed to continue on a long term basis. Your dentist can equip you with a mouth guard that you can wear while you're sleeping that will prevent you from grinding your teeth.