Scheduling those bi-annual visits to your general dentist who will, periodically, have a full set of mouth x-rays taken, goes beyond just checking for cavities in the teeth. In an extensive dental visit, the dentist will also be checking the health of gums, neck, lymph nodes, jaw and teeth alignment and check the mouth for signs of oral cancer and vitamin deficiencies. Awareness of potential signs of a serious dental problem and taking heed can avert complications.
1. Toothache: Chronic tooth pain could be a sign of nerve damage from excessive teeth grinding, trauma from injury, or severe decay. If facial swelling is present, there could be an underlying infection called an abscess. Tooth pain when eating could mean a cracked tooth and pain in upper molars might mean a sinus infection. These dental conditions always need immediate attention.
2. Teeth Sensitivity: A sharp yet intermittent pain when eating anything cold could mean gum recession or loss of enamel on teeth. When sensitive to food and drinks that are hot it may be a sign of a tooth abscess or crack in the tooth.
3. Gum Inflammation: Inflamed gums are an early sign of gum disease called Gingivitis and can progress to the more serious dental condition, Periodontitis, which can bring bone loss, loosening of teeth, and considerable pain. Gum inflammation may also be sign of excessive tobacco use, generally poor nutrition, or excessive stress affecting secretion of the cortisol hormone.
4. Mouth Sores: Mouth sores on tongue, gums, lips, inside cheeks are called aphthous ulcers, or canker sores, and come as result of stress, infection, or changes to the immune system or a sign of a vitamin B deficiency. It could also indicate Crohn’s disease, Lupus. A virus found on the lips or gums is Herpes Simplex, otherwise called a cold sore. At worse, mouth sores are an indicator of Syphilis.
5. Jaw Pain: Pain in the back of your jaw could indicate a dental condition called TMJD, Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction, which means that the muscles that move the jaw and the temporomandibular joints that connect the mandible to the skull are not working. Such pain in the back of the jaw may indicate a back molar problem or an impacted wisdom tooth. If pain in the jaw is on the left side it could be a sign of a potential heart attack.
6. Coated Tongue: White coated tongue could be sign of a dental condition known as Oral Thrush, also known as Candidiasis, an overgrowth of a fungus called Candida. Other causes: fever, tobacco abuse, possibly dehydration from lack of saliva, or the accumulation of keratin or dead skin cells on tongue’s surface.
7. Oral Cancer: Signs of oral cancer are patches of discolored tissue in mouth or on the lips. The patches can be white, mixed red and white, and bright red and smooth. White patches do not usually indicate malignant cancer, mixed red and white patches could be malignant, and bright red and smooth patches often become malignant. Early detection and treatment can bring a longer survival rate.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with Smiles by Design, PC, request an appointment in our Huntsville dental office here: https://www.smilesbydesignhuntsville.com. Or call us at (256) 660-3233.
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