About 13% of children ages 5 to 19 have an untreated cavity. Meanwhile, nearly 26% of adults ages 20 to 44 have an untreated cavity, too. Unfortunately, only 63% of adults and 85% of children have visited a dentist in the past year.
Not many people recognize when they need to schedule a visit to the dentist. Neglecting to schedule regular cleanings could lead to complications.
For example, you might lose a tooth or develop a serious infection.
Not sure when to see the dentist? Read on for the top signs it’s time for an appointment today!
One of the most obvious indicators it’s time to see the dentist is pain.
Most people expect a toothache to fade on its own in time. You might shrug it off as a minor inconvenience or annoyance. If you let the problem linger, however, you could jeopardize your oral health.
Instead, make sure to schedule a visit to the dentist if you or a child is experiencing oral pain.
Your dentist can complete a full visual evaluation. They’ll determine if your toothache is a symptom of a bigger problem. For example, pain might indicate an infection has developed in a tooth’s root.
If you have an infection, your dentist might prescribe an antibiotic. If you delay seeking treatment, you might need more thorough treatment. Your dentist can keep the infected root from dying completely.
Before you begin experiencing toothaches and localized pain, make sure you’re scheduling routine cleanings. Visit your dentist every six months. Routine cleanings can help them spot issues before they develop into major issues.
Professional cleanings can also minimize the spread of bacteria, helping you avoid other problems.
If there is an issue, your dentist can find a simple solution before you require more extensive treatment or oral surgery.
Have your gums started to ache or bleed when you brush and floss? Do they look inflamed or swollen? You’ll know when to see the dentist if your gum health is compromised.
Inflamed, swollen, or bleeding gums could indicate you’ve developed gum disease. Gum disease (gingivitis) can cause:
- Loose teeth
- Bleeding when you brush or floss
- Pain when chewing
- Foul-smelling breath
- Pus between the teeth and gums
- A change in how your teeth fit together
- Gums that pull away from your teeth
Why visit the dentist? Your dentist can spot signs of gum disease while it’s still in its initial stages. Without treatment, gum disease will progress into periodontitis, compromising your oral health.
For example, periodontitis might cause:
- Migration of your teeth and changes to your bite
- Painful abscesses
- Receding gums (exposing the roots of your teeth)
Periodontitis can also increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory disease.
Make sure to schedule regular cleanings at your local dental office twice a year.
Otherwise, make sure to floss every night. Flossing will keep food particles from getting trapped between your teeth. Food particles and bacteria can lead to decay and increase your risk of gum disease.
You might notice your mouth is dry, regardless of how often you drink water during the day. One common cause of dry mouth is antibiotics and other medications. You might also experience dry mouth due to hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis, or diabetes.
Dry mouth might also occur after you sustain nerve damage due to a surgery or injury.
However, dry mouth might also indicate you need to visit the dentist.
Otherwise, dry mouth might increase your risk of other oral health issues, including gum disease. Your body needs saliva to help you digest food. It also helps clear food particles away from your teeth.
If you’re struggling with dry mouth, visit your dentist to determine the root cause of the problem.
It’s possible you’re experiencing chronic headaches due to a trauma, dehydration, or other lifestyle factors. Sometimes, however, a headache might indicate you have an oral health issue like bruxism.
Bruxism occurs when you grind or clench your teeth, namely while you’re sleeping. You might wake up with jaw pain as a result. You could experience chronic headaches, too.
Other common symptoms of bruxism can include:
- Face, neck, or jaw pain/soreness
- A locked jaw that won’t open or close completely
- Sleep disruptions
- Teeth clenching or grinding
- A dull headache that begins at the temples
- Pain similar to an earache
- Damage from chewing the inside of your cheek
- Teeth that appear loose, flat, chipped, or fractured
- Increased tooth sensitivity or pain
- Worn tooth enamel
If you’ve started experiencing these symptoms, schedule a visit to the dentist. Otherwise, you could develop temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) or another issue.
Were you recently in a car or sporting accident? Trauma could cause you to injure your mouth or teeth. Don’t hesitate to visit your dentist as soon as possible.
Your dentist can evaluate the injury to determine the best course of action. Otherwise, trauma might damage a tooth’s root or cause other issues.
You might notice your teeth feel sensitive when you consume hot or cold foods and beverages. Sensitivity might indicate you’re struggling with a larger oral health issue.
For example, sensitivity might point to gum disease.
If you continue experiencing sensitivity, it’s likely time to see the dentist. Visit an appointment to determine the root cause of your symptoms.
Take a look at your teeth and gums. Are you noticing straight white spots? White spots can indicate decay or an infection.
You might develop ulcers or canker sores if you delay treatment.
Not sure when to see the dentist? Check your calendar. Make sure you’re visiting every six months.
Remember, professional cleanings could help you avoid complications and serious oral health issues in the future.
Watch for These Signs You Need to Schedule a Visit to the Dentist Today
Scheduling a visit to the dentist can ensure your teeth and gums are healthy. You can detect oral health issues before they develop into serious problems, too. Make sure to schedule routine cleanings throughout the year.
Then, you can smile ear to ear feeling confident in your oral health.
Ready to schedule your next cleaning? We can’t wait to see you.
Make an appointment with our team today to get started.