How to Know When to See a Dentist?

Let’s face it nobody likes going to the dentist. The anxiety the most people suffer with the thought of someone sticking drills in their mouth is completely natural and makes it very easy to put off those appointments. Months can turn in years as people conveniently forget to make that appointment. When was the last time you went to the dentist?

The recommended frequency of visits to the dentist for check-ups varies depending on the individual, their dental history and the condition of their teeth, mouth and gums. Colgate recommends that people should go and visit the dentist twice a year. The NHS does not feel such frequent visits are necessary and advises adults to visit the dentist every 2 years for check-ups and children at least every year.

The real answer is that it depends on the condition of your teeth and while it might be totally acceptable for individuals with great dental health to visit the dentists every couple of years some people will need to go more frequently. Talk to your dentist to see how often they feel you should visit them. If you want a rule of thumb, I would say the average person should visit the dentist at least once a year.

Following are some of the symptoms that should definitely get you to see your dentist. The implications of not getting checked out can be serious and like anything it is a lot better to detect and treat them early. The following symptoms can result in gum disease and abscesses so it is best to have them identified and treated early. Otherwise they can result in missing teeth, serious reduction in your gum bone and surgery on your mouth.

Here is a list of reason for which you should visit a dentist

Persistent Tooth Ache

This is a symptom that is difficult to ignore as it can be quite painful and very irritating. It is best to see if the paint goes away by itself at first if you can bear the pain. If it has not gone away after a couple of days, it means any infection will have passed and it is likely you have a problem with your tooth.  If the pain remains after a couple of days it is time to go and see your dentist.

Inflamed gums 

If your gums remain irritated or inflamed over a period of time it is a good idea to visit your dentist. Inflamed gums can be a sign of periodontitis or other type of gum disease. Gum disease also known as gingivitis or periodontitis is one to biggest risks of not visiting a dentist. Gum disease is more common than commonly thought and affects between 15-20% of the global population. It is far more common in adults than children and has been known to occur late. Gum disease is caused by a build-up of bacteria in your mouth. Obviously, good dental hygiene and regular brushing can negate the chances of it occurring but it can have serious consequences. Periodontitis is the more advanced form of gum disease and affects the tissue and bone in your gums. Periodontitis can erode your gums which will cause your teeth to become loose and fall out. Another painful symptom of gum disease are gum abscesses which are collections of pus in your mouth.

Bleeding gums 

If your gums bleed regularly when brushing or otherwise this is quite a worrying sign. Bleeding gums can be a sign of gum disease and are a sure sign that you should visit your dentist soon. As discussed above, gum disease can have serious implications if it is not identified and treated early.

Increase sensitivity to hot and cold

If you are experiencing increased sensitivity this is a sign of dental decay. You should arrange a visit to your dentist at the first signs of dental decay as it is easier to contain if it is detected earlier. The earlier it is detected to more likely you are to keep the tooth and escape with only a filling.

Canker Sores

Canker sores can be quite common in some people. If your canker goes away within a few days, they shouldn’t be cause for concern. If you have one that won’t heal, however, you need to seek dental attention immediately. Likewise if you are experiencing high or persistent pain, you should book an appointment as soon as possible.

Dry mouth 

A dry mouth can occur for a number of reasons. A hangover is one of the main causes. Some people get a dryer mouth as they get older and it can also be caused by prescription drugs. However it can also be a sign of disease of bacteria in the mouth. If you experiencing a dry mouth that is persistent and you cannot explain then it might be a good idea to visit your dentist for a checkup.

Bad Breath 

Bad breath is one of the first symptoms of gingivitis. Gingivitis is a form of gum disease which can progress to periodontitis if not treated early. It is therefore important to identify and treat gingivitis at is early stages before any irreversible bone or tissue damage occurs. Bad breath can occur for other reasons such as your diet and dental hygiene so it is worth examining these potential causes also.

Swelling around the mouth

Bacteria from a tooth infection can extend into the surrounding gums, mouth, tongue and even jaws. This can result in a dental abscess which is in effect an infection that starts a tooth infection but spreads to some of the surrounding areas. These can be very painful and uncomfortable for the patient. The next step after the infection and swelling can be a build-up of pus around the infection. Sometimes the abscess can progress to a point where it can become so inflamed that it blocks off the air passage and restricts breathing. It has also been known to induce vomiting and nausea. If you notice swelling around your mouth you should definitely have it checked out by your dentist.

The common conclusion with most of the above symptoms is that they can result in serious implications if they are not treated early on so it is best to get to a dentist at the early signs to avoid more complicated and expensive surgery to preserve your mouth and smile later on.

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