When dental problems arise, it can be harrying. Sometimes it can even be painful. This is your body’s way of alerting you that it’s time to visit your dentist. Here are some explanations, tips, and the ways in which your dentist can help you:
- Bad Breath – Bad breath can create a lot of social anxiety. Mints and gum just mask the problem instead of addressing the real issue. Often, consistently practicing good dental hygiene can improve bad breath. Staying hydrated, scraping your tongue, rinsing after eating, and even consuming green tea or cinnamon can help. But, it’s important to see your dentist when this becomes a concern because it may be a sign of an underlying condition.
- Sensitive Teeth – Usually the result of an exposed root or worn tooth enamel, sensitive teeth can cause intense pain and irritation. Fluoride applications, covering the vulnerable area, or special toothpastes can diminish or eliminate sensitivity. It’s also important to refrain from brushing too hard, as this can wear away enamel.
- Gum Disease (Periodontitis) – Painful, tender, or inflamed gums could be a sign that you’re experiencing the effects of gum disease. Caused by excessive plaque and tartar, a dentist is needed to properly diagnose and treat gum disease. They can provide you with the tools to stop or slow the progress.
- Tooth Pain – Most of us, at one time or another, have experienced the sharp pain a damaged tooth can cause. It can happen as the result of a cavity, an abscess, or an exposed root. Cleaning and repair must be performed by a dentist after professional evaluation.
- Jaw Pain – Jaw pain may be the result of infection, teeth grinding/clenching, or even stress. If it’s sharp or sudden, it’s important to seek immediate medical attention as it could be sign of a serious underlying condition, even heart attack. Otherwise, heat packs, ice, and over the counter pain relievers can be used until your dentist diagnoses the problem. Stress reduction and, in the case of nighttime teeth grinding, specially made tooth guards will be the usual course of action.
- Headaches – Headaches can sometimes be caused by underlying dental problems, teeth clenching, or problems with the jaw. Alert your dentist that you’re experiencing headaches as they will be able to verify or negate oral health/function as a cause for your pain.
- Tooth Pocketing – Gum disease, inflammation, and plaque buildup sometimes cause gums to recede and even become loose around teeth. This can expose roots and cause a substantial amount of pain. Tooth coverings, root canal, or even gum surgery may be needed to resolve the pain and protect against further damage.
- Tooth Decay – Tooth decay occurs when plaque and tartar build up in your mouth and on the surfaces of your teeth. They create acids that eat away at your teeth. When this results in infection, toothache will be the primary symptom. Always exercise proper dental hygiene, floss, and avoid sweeteners to prevent tooth decay.
- Bruxism (Teething Grinding) – Grinding or clenching of the teeth can occur during the day or while you’re sleeping. Many people aren’t even aware that it’s occurring. The reasons some people grind their teeth aren’t fully understood, but stress is often a factor. Your dentist can look for the signs of grinding/clenching (worn enamel, grooves, and jaw pain), and prescribe the right treatment.
- Canker Sores – Canker sores are lesions that can form on the soft tissue in your mouth or at the base of your gums. Most of the time, they aren’t dangerous, but they can be painful. If they don’t resolve on their own within a week or two, it’s time to see a dentist for evaluation. In the meantime, milk of magnesia, Benadryl applied to the sore, and over the counter lozenges can offer relief.
- Oral Cancer – Unfortunately, cancer can occur anywhere in the body and the mouth is no exception. Avoiding tobacco products and heavy alcohol consumption can help in prevention. Oral cancer is very serious. It’s critical to alert your dentist if you notice anything abnormal, including any growths, bumps, or ulcers. A thorough oral cancer screening can be performed to see if a problem exists.
If you are experiencing a persistent dental problem and would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Shore to discuss options, please call 916-966-4341.