A few years ago, I realized that I was thinking about dental care all wrong. Instead of listening carefully to my dentist and making the necessary changes, I assumed that he was ultimately responsible for making sure that my teeth stayed healthy. Unfortunately, I developed a few serious cavities because I failed to properly brush and floss my teeth, and I knew that it was my fault. I decided to start taking notes at my dental checkups and carefully abiding by the dentist's orders. The difference was almost miraculous. This blog is all about working with your dentist to improve your result.
Most people don't enjoy going to the dentist; still, it's important to go regularly for exams and cleanings. That little bit of time you spend at the dentist now can save you from a lot of pain and expensive treatment down the road. Furthermore, there are some "red flags" to watch out for that indicate the need to see a dentist sooner rather than later.
It's Been More Than Six Months Since Your Last Exam
When was the last time you saw your dentist? If it's been more than six months, then it's time to schedule an exam and cleaning as soon as possible. A lot of dental problems can creep up in as little as a year, and the longer you go without a cleaning, the longer you're allowing plaque and other build-up to accumulate on your teeth and around the gum line. And even if you're not experiencing any symptoms, skipping dental exams could leave you with untreated tooth decay as well.
You're Experiencing Tooth Pain With or Without a Fever
If you notice any tooth pain, this could be a sign of a cavity or even a small crack or fracture in the affected tooth. Either way, you should see a dentist to have the source of your pain diagnosed and treated. If your persistent tooth pain is accompanied by a fever, see a dentist as soon as possible, as this could be a sign of an abscess. This is a dangerous bacterial infection that can spread to other parts of the body.
You Have Sudden Tooth Sensitivity to Hot and Cold
It's not normal to have extreme sensitivity to hot and cold foods or beverages, so if you find yourself avoiding ice water or chewing on one side of your mouth to avoid pain, it's time to see a dentist. Sudden sensitivity could be indicative of a cavity, or it could be a sign of another problem (such as a loose filling).
Your Gums Bleed When You Floss or Brush Your Teeth
Finally, if you ever notice blood when you brush or floss your teeth, this could be a sign of gum disease. See a dentist right away, as early stages of gum disease can be treated and even reversed--but as soon as it develops into advanced stage periodontal disease, there is no cure. Remember that it is never normal to have bleeding or swollen gums.