How to spot trouble Here is a quick guide to common dental problems. You should visit your dentist if you have these warning signs.
Bad breath that doesn’t go away
The cause might be gum disease, food, drinking, smoking, medicine you are taking or a health condition. If you cannot get rid of bad breath with daily brushing and flossing, see your dentist.
Your gums bleed when you brush or floss
If you just started to floss, a little bleeding is normal. But if you bleed almost every time you brush or floss your teeth, see your dentist.
For women, menopause may be the cause. It is also a side effect of many common medicines. It does not feel good and it can make dental problems worse. You need to tell your dentist if you have this problem.
A tooth that is a little bit loose
A loose tooth could be caused by gum disease or by a blow to the mouth. In any case, it is a serious problem. You should see your dentist.
A sore mouth
A sore mouth might be caused by false teeth that don’t fit well. It could also be from leaving false teeth in overnight. “Burning mouth syndrome” is a problem that affects some older women. Not eating the right kind of food may also be the cause.
Bleeding that you can’t explainMouth sores that don’t heal in 7 to 10 days
White or red patches in your mouth
Feeling numb or sore inside your mouth
These symptoms may be signs of oral cancer. See your dentist right away.
Teeth that are sensitive to:
Teeth can become sensitive all of a sudden, or it can happen over time. In most cases, this kind of pain means something is wrong. Check with your dentist
Wisdom teeth, also referred to as third molars, get their name by being the last teeth to come in during young adulthood. As part of a dental visit, your dentist will examine you to determine if your wisdom teeth are healthy and properly positioned.
Every patient is unique, but in general, wisdom teeth may need to be removed when there is evidence of changes in the mouth such as:
tooth decay (if it is not possible or desirable to restore the tooth)
Your dentist or specialist may also recommend removal to prevent problems or for others reasons, such as when removal is part of an orthodontic, restorative or periodontal treatment plan.
In addition, the condition of your mouth changes over time. Wisdom teeth that are not removed should continue to be monitored, because the potential for developing problems later on still exists. As with many other health conditions, as people age, they are at greater risk for health problems and that includes potential problems with their wisdom teeth. Regular dental visits are important so your dentist can evaluate not just your wisdom teeth but your overall oral health to help you prevent and manage dental disease and achieve optimal oral health. ADA
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Teeth grinding can be caused not just by stress and anxiety but by sleep disorders, an abnormal bite or teeth that are missing or crooked. The symptoms of teeth grinding include:
– dull headaches
– jaw soreness
– teeth that are painful or loose
– fractured teeth
Your dentist can fit you with a night guard to protect your teeth during sleep. In some cases, your dentist or physician may recommend taking a muscle relaxant before bedtime. If stress is the cause you need to find a way to relax. Meditation, counselling and exercise can all help reduce stress and anxiety.
Teeth grinding is also common in children. However, because their teeth and jaws change and grow so quickly it is not usually a damaging habit that requires treatment and most outgrow it by adolescence.
Although in adults teeth grinding is often the result of stress, the same is not always true with children. Other possible causes of teeth grinding in children include:
– irritation in the mouth
– misaligned teeth
If you’re concerned about your child’s teeth grinding, ask your child’s dentist about the potential causes and, if necessary, the possible solutions. (ADA)
“An ice cream headache, though momentarily painful, is a harmless condition that lasts about 30 seconds to a minute, “ says Dr. Lynn Tomkins, President of the ODA. “While ice cream headaches should not incite worry, a real concern is tooth sensitivity, sometimes making eating an unpleasant experience.”
Tooth sensitivity can occur from consuming cold food and liquids and breathing cold air. Tooth sensitivity often occurs because the gums start to recede and tooth roots are exposed.
In order to protect gums and teeth from sensitivity, the ODA recommends the following measures:
Apply gentle pressure when brushing teeth. Too much pressure over time from tooth brushing can cause significant gum recession and wearing down of the teeth.
Take two to three minutes to properly brush all tooth surfaces.
Make sure you floss. Flossing reaches 35 percent of tooth surfaces where brushing cannot reach.
Use toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Over time, this will help to reduce sensitive tooth nerves.
Use a fluoride mouthwash, which can help to reduce tooth sensitivity.
Cut down on acidic foods. Foods such as citrus, pop, and tea can increase sensitivity and work against sensitivity toothpaste.
“If these measures don’t relieve the pain, you may be experiencing signs of deeper decay,” says Dr. Tomkins. “If you’re experiencing pain, it’s important to go see a dentist who will do a full exam, and give you a diagnosis and treatment plan.” (ODA)