If you’ve had immaculate oral health, and have stuck to a strict brushing and flossing regime for most of your life, you may feel very comfortable with your dental health. Chances are, you have good reason to feel comfortable.
However, many patients have underlying issues that often go undetected on a daily basis. Some symptoms, if left to inexperience, may be difficult to detect as problematic. There’s no reason to panic – this list will help identify some common dental issues that could use further inspection. If you can relate to one or more of the issues on this list, it may be time for a trip to Jensen Lakes Dental for a consultation, check-up, and cleaning!
1. Tooth Sensitivity
This problem seems innocent enough. In fact, this is a very common issue that millions of people share. Roughly half of the population suffers from some degree of tooth sensitivity. People that experience tooth sensitivity often have difficulty eating or drinking both sweet, cold or hot things. This list of painful items includes, but is not limited to:
● Coffee and tea
● Ice cream
● Cold drinks
● Sugary foods and beverages
This sensitivity isn’t just limited to food and drink, either. Many with more severe cases may feel this sensitivity when brushing or flossing their teeth, making it difficult to reach problem areas in the mouth when cleaning. Lack of proper cleaning has potential to cause other issues.
These variations of sensitivity can be a sign of a more serious issue than not being able to bite your ice cream cone. If you’re feeling sensitive during your daily cleaning rituals or when you’re eating things that should be safe, there’s the possibility of you having a cracked tooth, tooth decay, unnatural and excessive tooth wear, gum receding off the tooth and exposing the root of your tooth, tooth nerve inflammation or a tooth abscess.
None of these conditions will just resolve themselves by good brushing. They all require treatment from a dental professional to prevent serious side effects such as progression into a more severe problem, severe dental pain, swelling in the face and mouth due to infection and ultimately tooth loss.
If you’ve been battling sensitivity for a while, or suddenly develop it, make sure you schedule an appointment with your dental professional at Jensen Lake Dental so we can identify the cause and fix it for you!
2. Gum Disease
Otherwise known as periodontal disease, gum disease is the more commonly used term for this infection of the gums that surround the teeth. The CDC estimates that one out of every two Americans of age 30 or over has periodontal disease. Much like having a tooth abscess, this is another condition that, if not properly eradicated by a professional, could result in tooth loss. There is a total specialty in the field of dentistry that is dedicated for the gum health and supporting tissues around the teeth, and this specialty is called periodontics.
Most people are at risk of having gum disease, but the risk heightens in adults once they reach the age of 30. There are a few factors that can increase your risk of contracting it at any age, such as:
● Dry mouth
● Poor oral hygiene
● Infection with certain bacteria
● Heavy and hard deposits on the teeth (Calculus)
● Deep gingival pockets
● Improperly done and unhygienic dental filling or prosthesis
If you identify with any or all of the issues listed above, it may be time for a trip to the dentist. These aren’t sure signs of gum disease, just the most common, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry!
Just like there are main causes of gum disease, there are common symptoms to watch for, too. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but some of these symptoms may include:
● Bleeding gums, especially when brushing
● Red, swollen, or tender gums
● Consistent bad breath that doesn’t seem to be linked to a recent meal or drink
● Sensitive teeth
● Painful chewing
● Tooth mobility
● Tooth movement
● Gum receding off the teeth and exposing the root
3. Tooth Decay
Tooth decay isn’t out of the norm at all when it comes to popular dental ailments. Tooth decay is more commonly referred to as having cavities, and will occur whenever sugar and bacteria are present on the tooth surface for a prolonged period of time.
If you frequently eat food with higher sugar content, you’re likely more prone to cavities. If you are infrequent with flossing, brushing, and the general cleaning of your mouth, this gives more opportunity for sugar and bacteria to stick to the surface of the teeth, and settle there.
There’s no limit to who can or can’t contract cavities. People of all ages are prone to decay, but there are preventative measures you can take to try to protect yourself. Typically, with a reasonable daily cleaning regime, you’ll find yourself in the clear. Try to develop healthy habits such as:
● Brushing at least twice a day
● Sticking to a healthy diet
● Avoiding beverages and foods that are high in sugar
● Using fluoride-containing toothpaste
● Visiting the dentist for frequent cleanings and checkups
Even with healthy habits such as those listed above, there are still common signs of cavities to watch out for, just to be on the safe side. These symptoms include:
● Noticeable pain when you bite into something
● Extreme tooth sensitivity to hot, cold and sweets
● Discoloured areas or staining on the teeth, usually brown, black, or white
● Pain that occurs spontaneously, with seemingly no concrete reason
● Holes or pits in your teeth
Sometimes, people have no idea that one or more cavities are forming, sometimes the cavity is not even detectable with visual examination and that is why your dentist requests radiographs in every check-up. This makes being vigilant and visiting the dentist as regularly scheduled so important!
4. Tooth Wear/Enamel Erosion
The first thing you’ll notice when your enamel starts to ebb away is a fair amount of pain. This condition is one of the main causes of tooth pain or hypersensitivity.
Enamel is what gives structure to your teeth. Over time, the things you eat and drink can begin to eat the enamel away, especially if these things are highly acidic.
Pure fruit juices and carbonated sodas are particularly notorious for this. If you consume either of these in high amounts, you may be at higher risk for tooth erosion.
The most common symptoms of enamel erosion are as follows:
● Pain and sensitivity
● Cracking in the teeth
● Transparency, particularly in the front teeth
● Staining or discoloration of the teeth
If you absolutely can’t avoid the sugary drinks, using a straw will help to keep your teeth healthy by minimizing contact with the beverage. This is a preventative measure, as well as a restorative one. This encourages your mouth to produce more saliva, which helps your teeth recover from high exposure to harmful acids.
When in doubt, it’s best to consult with a specialist. The dentists at Jensen Lake Dental can help give you peace of mind when it comes to your oral health, with a thorough cleaning, exam, and advice for how to keep your smile perfect!