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5 Signs You Should See Your Dentist Right Away

Seeing your dentist regularly is a part of maintaining a good oral hygiene and preventing tooth decay and gum disease. But there are some signs that you should visit your dental care professional as soon as possible. Here are five you should be aware of.

Your gums are bleeding or sore

Bleeding or soreness in your gums can be a sign of gum disease. Gum disease is a serious condition that can lead to other issues, including tooth loss and bone loss around the teeth. With gum disease, gums become inflamed. Ignored, it can lead to damage to the bones and tissues that support your teeth.

Although it may not a dental emergency, you should see your dentist within a few weeks to address gum bleeding or soreness. The earlier you treat gum disease, the better. Also, bleeding gums can be caused by medical problems such as a low platelet count. So, you may need to follow up with your doctor, too.

Your teeth feel loose, or they’ve shifted.

If you notice a tooth feels loose or seems to have shifted in the mouth, it could be a sign of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissues that support your teeth. Periodontal disease is caused by the buildup of plaque and tartar on the teeth and gums, which causes the gums to become inflamed and bleed.

If not treated, periodontal disease can destroy the bone and tissue that support your teeth, leading to tooth loss. Loose or shifting teeth need evaluation and treatment, so it’s not something to ignore or put on the back burner.

You have frequent bad breath and a foul taste in your mouth

Bad breath can affect anyone, but if it’s frequently happening and you don’t know why, it could be a sign of gum disease or dry mouth. Other disturbances and oral health can also contribute. For example, certain medications can cause dry mouth, as can autoimmune conditions. Drinking alcohol and chronic anxiety can, too.

Saliva production also slows with age, so aging can contribute to dry mouth and halitosis (bad breath). When there isn’t enough saliva in your mouth, it’s harder to kill bacteria that cause dental caries and gum disease. These bacteria can cause halitosis.

You have pain in your jaw, ear, or face

If you are experiencing pain in your jaw, ear, or face, see your dentist ASAP. Pain in these areas can signal an abscessed tooth needing immediate treatment. If you have an abscessed tooth, seek professional dental care without delay.

An abscess is a pocket of pus that forms when bacteria enter the teeth or gums and cause an infection. If left untreated, an abscess can lead to severe complications, such as tooth loss, bone loss, and spread of the infection.

A sore in your mouth that won’t heal

If you have a sore in your mouth that won’t heal after two weeks, see your dentist as soon as possible. Non-healing sores can be a sign of oral cancer, which is more common in smokers. Other signs that you should make an immediate dental appointment include:

  • Persistent mouth pain
  • Lymph nodes or swelling in the neck
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Bleeding from a mouth sore
  • A lump or thickening

If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to see your dentist as soon as possible. The sooner you address the problem, the better off you’ll be. And be sure to see your dentist for regularly scheduled exams and a professional cleaning to remove tartar. Regular dental visits and home care can lower your risk of experiencing dental problems in the first place.