Visiting your dentist twice a year is recommended to keep your oral health in check, aside from practicing your daily dental care routine.
However, some dental treatments may require sudden, unscheduled visits.
Run to the nearest dental clinic if you experience any of the following:
1. Cracks/chips in or loss of a permanent tooth
Permanent teeth are made to last. If one of your adult teeth falls out or gets damaged, you need to seek treatment immediately.
One of the most common reasons for teeth falling out is injury or trauma. Dentists can reattach your teeth but only if you seek attention quickly. An emergency trip to the dentist also prevents the infection from spreading to other parts of your mouth or your body.
In the event that your tooth got knocked out by accident, only clean the tooth in a biological fluid such as saliva or milk, and re-implant the tooth as soon as possible. Be careful that you don’t remove any of the tissue still attached to the tooth.
If you are not comfortable re-implanting the tooth on your own, keep it soaked in saliva or milk and go to your dentist as soon as possible.
If the conditions are right, your dentist may be able to reinsert your tooth and give you your old smile back.
2. Abscess or presence of pus
Do you have a hard or painful bump on your gums? This is a sign that you have an abscess filled with pus.
Abscesses are indications of a serious infection in your mouth. Finding any discharge or fluid suggests that the abscess has burst. This needs to be treated quickly as this is a sign that there is a problem with the affected tooth.
An experienced emergency dentist can provide you with the medication needed to treat the abscess and drain the pus safely if necessary.
3. Chronic dry mouth
Your body produces saliva to help control the bacteria and fungi in your mouth. Studies have shown that a component inside your saliva speeds up your body’s ability to heal wounds. If your mouth is unable to produce the right amount of saliva, you are more likely to develop infections in your mouth or tooth decay.
Xerostomia is a condition which occurs when your mouth produces less saliva than normal. More commonly known as chronic dry mouth, the condition affects a tenth of the population.
Several factors can result in the decreased production of saliva. These include dehydration and stress. Taking certain types of medication can also cause your mouth to produce less saliva.
Chronic dry mouth is also a known symptom of more serious medical ailments such as salivary gland disease, ailments affecting your autoimmune system and even diabetes.
To lower your chances of developing dry mouth, drink more water and less caffeinated drinks. Chewing on sugarless gum also encourages your mouth to produce saliva. Consuming foods and drinks that contain mint, lemon and cinnamon are also known to help.
4. Throbbing pain
Feeling intense pain in any one of your teeth is a sign that your tooth nerve has been damaged. The pain is an indication that bacteria may have already damaged the nerve.
In minor cases, your dentist will close any cracks in your teeth to prevent bacteria from entering. However, if the problem becomes severe, your dentist might recommend a root canal to treat the problem.
5. Growths inside the mouth
Lumps, sores, or lesions inside the mouth normally heal or disappear after a few days. In rare cases, persistent growths are a sign of oral cancer.
Smoking, drinking, poor nutrition and even genetics can increase your chances of developing oral cancer. If you feel any numbness or pain in your mouth, difficulty swallowing or profuse bleeding, be sure to see your dentist immediately.
Your oral health is important.
If you experience any of the previously mentioned symptoms, do not delay and consult your dentist right away.
Dr. Michael Letham is the owner and dentist at 24/7 Dental and Bayside Smiles. He graduated from Sydney University in 2000 with Honours, receiving the R Morse Withycombe Prize for Proficiency in Clinical Periodontics (gum treatment). Striving to provide a modern, holistic approach to dental care that is tailored to each individual’s requirements, Mike’s focus is on being thorough and meticulous whilst being caring and compassionate.