As dentists, we’re pretty fortunate compared with other health care professions, especially where regular care and maintenance are concerned.
Unlike family physicians who might see you once each year (if they’re lucky), we get to check in with many of our clients every six months. This helps ensure we can catch and correct any potential oral issues promptly – sometimes even before they become issues at all.
But, let’s be honest for a second. Not everyone sees their dentists as regularly as they should. A study by the American Dental Association found that just over 50 percent of adults report they regularly visit their dentists every six months.
In the same study, around 15 percent said they typically see a dentist once a year, and 11 percent admitted they only get a check-up once every two or three years.
If you fall into one of these latter categories, our team at Mill Point Dental in Bend isn’t here to shame you. Yes, we highly recommend you get regular dental check-ups more frequently. It’s not just good for your teeth, but numerous medical studies show good oral health remains firmly connected with good overall health.
That said, whether you visit us every six months or every couple of years, it’s essential you remain vigilant of your oral health in-between visits. That means keeping an eye out for (and not ignoring) important signs that you may have or may be developing a dental problem.
What are some of the common dental problems that you should schedule a check-up with your dentist? Below is a list of things you should be aware of:
Soreness in your mouth or around your jaw is one of the more common signs of developing a dental issue. Such pain – either sharp or radiating – can be a sign of a cavity or gum disease, or it could indicate something worse like an abscess. Regardless of what’s causing it, don’t try to self-diagnose cause or severity. Some issues can quickly worsen, so it’s best to visit a dentist as soon as possible.
Sore, Swollen or Bleeding Gums
If you notice your gums bleeding or if they are sore after brushing or flossing, you may have gum disease, especially if it’s a regular occurrence. However, it can also be a sign of gingivitis or simply brushing and flossing incorrectly. Don’t ignore this symptom as many of these issues, including early-state gum disease, are reversible when caught early.
If you feel pain in your teeth when you eat or drink something hot or cold (or both), this means you likely have sensitive teeth. This can be a sign of several things, many of which should be treated relatively quickly before they worsen. Such potential issues include tooth decay, broken or cracked teeth, gum disease, worn fillings or enamel, and an exposed root.
Bad-smelling breath (halitosis) can be more than just a temporary embarrassment. If chronic, it can be an indication that you’re experiencing a treatable oral issue. Bad breath can be caused by tooth decay, gum disease, oral cancer, and even fungus on the tongue.
Sores in the Mouth
We all experience sores in our mouths from time to time, but be vigilant of sores that stick around for more than a few days or which don’t appear to be healing. Not only can these be painful, making it difficult to chew, speak and even sleep, but they could be a sign of something severe. Braces, dentures, and sharp edges on teeth or fillings can cause sores, as well. Thankfully, these are all treatable issues.
Jaw Pain or Popping
Pain in the jaw or a regular clicking or popping around the joint can be caused by several things, including issues that may affect oral health. This includes teeth grinding, gingivitis, arthritis, and TMJ. See your dentist to get it checked out.
This one’s a bit of a no-brainer. The key here is that if you think you’ve cracked or broken a tooth, don’t wait to see your dentist. When ignored, a cracked or broken tooth can quickly spiral into more severe problems, well beyond simply feeling discomfort while chewing.
You may not know this, but our saliva helps prevent harmful bacterial growth in our mouths, which can cause gum disease, oral infections, tooth decay, and so on. So, dry mouth, or “cottonmouth,” isn’t something you should ignore.
If you experience one or more of the above dental problems, it’s important you reach out to our team here at Mill Point Dental in Bend to schedule an appointment today. We’ll provide you with a complete evaluation and assessment, then offer solutions for treating any issues we find before they become more severe.