Let’s face it – no one really likes going to the dentist. But regular dental check-ups are an integral part of maintaining good oral health and keeping your smile bright and clean. Nonetheless, it can be easy to let your dental trips fall to the wayside, and before you know it it’s been years since your last visit.
Unfortunately, neglecting your dental health can lead to severe health issues down the track and enable easily treatable problems to develop into painful and expensive ones. If you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, here are 6 of the major signs that you should make an appointment as soon as possible.
- Bleeding gums
If your gums start bleeding when you brush or floss your teeth, this could be a sign that you have gingivitis. Gingivitis is a gum disease that can cause swelling and irritation and can generally be treated easily in its early stages.
However, if left untreated gingivitis can develop into the more serious periodontitis and lead to tooth loss. Gingivitis is commonly caused by poor oral hygiene and habits such as smoking and an unhealthy diet. A professional cleaning from your dentist and changes to your dental routine should help you combat gingivitis if you tackle it in its early stages.
Toothaches can have many causes, such as grinding your teeth, a fracture or a new tooth breaking through your gums. Toothaches can also be a sign that you have a cavity and may require a filling.
Even minor toothaches can be cause to visit a dentist, as the treatment they may require will only grow the longer you put it off.
- Bad breath
If you have bad breath that just won’t budge, your dentist may be able to help you get to the root of it. It may just be as simple as not brushing your teeth enough, but it can also be something more serious.
Periodontitis, which we discussed earlier, can cause constant bad breath that not even brushing and rinsing can combat. Periodontitis causes gum decay as well as potential tooth loss, which can cause unpleasant smells that may be the cause of your bad breath.
- Yellow or stained teeth
Yellow teeth are a sign that there’s a buildup of plaque in your mouth, and over time plaque can turn into tartar and permanently stain your teeth. This can be caused by a variety of factors, such as smoking, drinks like coffee and red wine, ageing and even certain medications.
While teeth whitening is a quick and easy solution to yellow and stained teeth, it’s an expensive procedure that generally isn’t covered by private health insurance.
Many people find that they experience pain when consuming cold drinks or eating acidic foods. While in some cases this may just be due to naturally sensitive teeth, many people experience increased tooth sensitivity because of poor diets, grinding their teeth, weak fillings or putting too much pressure on their teeth while they brush.
If you’ve noticed an increase in your teeth’s sensitivity, your dentist may be able to help you find the cause of the issue and form an appropriate action plan.
- Jaw swelling
Jaw swelling is one of the major signs that you need to visit your dentist immediately, as it can be a symptom of tooth abscess. This is when bacteria builds up in your mouth and creates an area in your tooth filled with pus.
Tooth abscess can cause severe pain and even a fever, although it generally can be treated with a root canal. However, certain patients will need to have the tooth pulled. Always get to the dentist as soon as possible if you notice any jaw swelling.
If you have any of these symptoms, it’s time to stop procrastinating and make that appointment with your dentist. Even if your oral health seems to be in good shape, it’s still recommended that you visit your dentist every 6 to 12 months to keep on top of things.