Going to the dentist is typically not a fun event for most people. It is not uncommon for people to associate visiting the dentist with pain or discomfort. Understandably, many people choose to avoid the dentist if possible. Although, patients usually are better off if they make regular visits to the dentist rather than prevent it.
If you are someone who avoids the dentist, you are not alone. Nearly 36% of the population has anxiety about going to the dentist, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH). However, if you can, you should consider visiting the dentist before you have significant issues. Here are three signs that you need to make an appointment with your dentist.
You should talk to your dentist if you notice your gums bleeding after flossing or brushing your teeth. While it is possible to brush your teeth too hard occasionally, it is more likely that you may be developing gingivitis. Gingivitis causes inflammation and redness of the gum. You may also hear gingivitis referred to as gum disease.
Gingivitis is extremely common and easy to treat. In fact, over 50% of adults have gingivitis. Therefore, there is no need for concern or embarrassment about gingivitis. However, you must seek treatment before it progresses into advanced gum disease. Without treatment, gum disease can destroy the soft tissues in your gums. Eventually, the gums will recede from the teeth, exposing the root of the tooth. This increases the chances of a patient losing their teeth. Also, gum disease can affect the underlying bone, causing decay.
At some point in your life, you may have bitten into ice cream and felt some pain. Of course, brief, mild discomfort is normal. However, if you experience tooth pain consistently, you should make an appointment with your dentist. It is not usual to constantly feel pain. It could be a sign of a more significant issue.
If you begin to feel a heightened sensitivity to temperatures in the foods you consume, you could have a cavity. A cavity is a hole in the tooth’s enamel—the protective layer covering the tooth. The hole burrows down to the nerves and connective tissue inside the tooth, causing sensitivity to heat, cold, acids, and sugar. A dentist needs to treat a cavity by removing the decay and using a filling.
If you have pain that lingers, you may have an infection or an impacted tooth, which requires immediate attention.
Loose teeth are another reason you should make an appointment with your dentist. Having loose teeth could be a sign of tooth decay or gum disease. If you don’t seek treatment, you could risk losing one or more of your teeth. The longer you wait to see your dentist, the worse your outcome will likely be. If you see them quickly, they may be able to prevent any major, long-term damage.
If you do happen to lose any teeth, your dentist has restorative options that will help you reclaim your smile.