We completely relate to those people who aren’t quite comfortable with the grocery store or large gatherings or healthcare facilities. For many, it may be okay to continue putting off dental treatment for a little longer. For some, though, dental concerns could be posing an imminent threat, and waiting is inadvisable.
If you or a loved one exhibit any of the following signs or symptoms, you should schedule an evaluation with Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara as soon as possible. Most dental problems are progressive in nature, meaning that they get worse and worse as time goes on. Only intervening with dental treatment stops that progression. The sooner you intervene, the less extensive and less expensive the treatment is.
With consistent visits to the dentist, we are able to “catch” cavities in their earliest stages. A cavity that is large enough to be visible to the naked eye is already very large according to dental standards. (This does not include small dark stains in the grooves of the teeth. These can be visible and harmless.) If you see an actual hole or crater in a tooth, regardless of what color it is, you should call us right away. The sooner we treat the decay, the more likely we are able to repair the tooth with a straightforward dental filling. The larger the cavity, the more likely it is to require extensive treatment like crowns and root canals.
Bleeding gums that do not improve with great oral hygiene at home could indicate a persistent gingivitis. Bleeding gums are a sign of underlying inflammation, and unless you remove the cause of this inflammation, the problem will persist. Many times, the cause of the inflammation is a buildup of soft dental plaque. This, you can remove with the correct brushing and flossing routine at home, which can clear up the gingivitis.
However, sometimes the inflammation is caused by either a foreign object or hard tartar buildup that cannot be removed with brushing and flossing. In this scenario, you need to see your dentist and dental hygienist to remove the cause of the bleeding. Leaving this untreated could lead to periodontal disease and loss of bone in this area.
Consistent Pain on Chewing on a Specific Tooth
Cracked teeth are becoming more and more prevalent, and one of the symptoms of a cracked tooth is consistent pain on chewing. If you notice that you can isolate a twinge of pain to a single tooth when chewing, you need to let us test the tooth for a fracture. Cracked teeth also worsen over time, with the risk of the crack spreading into the internal chambers of the tooth and affecting the nerve. The sooner you detect and treat a cracked tooth, the more conservative and successful the treatment will be.
Headaches, Facial Pain, and Muscle Tension
It’s no surprise that many people are under much higher levels of stress during our days of economic uncertainty, quarantine, homeschooling, etc . . . One of the most common symptoms that arises from heavy nighttime clenching and/or grinding is tension and pain in the muscles that close the jaws. This can cause pain in the cheeks, temples and forehead. Some people experience headaches from the neck up.
If you are noticing an increase in muscle tension, a feeling of “tightness” when you wake up in the mornings, it’s likely that you are clenching your teeth at night. We can easily help you alleviate that stress and strain on your muscles with a custom-fitted nightguard to separate the teeth and relax the muscles.
A Mouth Sore or Lump that Persists Longer than Two Weeks
The soft tissues inside the mouth are in a constant state of change, so changes in color and texture are not always something to be concerned with. People develop canker sores and fever blisters or small swellings around salivary ducts. These are all relatively common and NOT oral cancer.
However, because these tissues do change so frequently, most unusual spots in the mouth will resolve themselves (go away on their own) within about two weeks. Anything that looks or feels unusual that does not go away on its own should have a professional in-person evaluation. Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara perform thorough oral cancer screenings at every evaluation appointment. However, if you haven’t seen them in a while, you may be the one to catch something suspicious. Make a note of the date that you first spotted it, and monitor it closely for two weeks.
If the unusual spot has not improved in two weeks, call to schedule an evaluation.
More Questions about Whether You Should Schedule an Appointment?
We are available to answer any questions you have over the phone and can explain our safety procedures in detail. Read our prior article here to see how we are protecting both our patients and our team members. Call 972-347-1145 to schedule a visit with Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara.