Signs You May Need to Call Your Dentist
Your oral wellbeing is highly interlinked with your general health and is essential for speaking, chewing and digestion functions. A good set of teeth and healthy gums can increase your self-esteem and grant you that perfect smile; this makes it very important for us to seek oral attention on a regular basis. Your dentist can detect the presence of any diseases and take the necessary steps. Here we briefly review some of the conditions that require you to visit your dentist:
4 Signs You Need to Visit Your Dentist
Gum Disease and Bleeding
Maintenance of oral hygiene through proper toothbrushing and dental flossing is vital for the removal of germs. Gingivitis is one of the primary causes of gum inflammation that start with the build-up of plaque around the teeth. The plaque then becomes a good environment for bacterial growth and leads to inflammation and bleeding. As the disease progresses, empty spaces known as pockets start to form. If left untreated Gingivitis ultimately results in periodontal disease which damages the jawbone and results in tooth loss (1). People with systemic diseases such as diabetes have a higher propensity to develop gingivitis and periodontal disease. Gingivitis can be more severe in pregnant women due to their high oestrogen levels (2). There is also a high association between tobacco and alcohol consumption and the development of gingivitis (3).
Lack of dental hygiene can also increase the risk of developing cancer. A study of 309 males and females showed that those people who had poor oral hygiene and frequent gum bleeding had a higher chance of developing oral cancer (4). Likewise, the risk of developing head and neck cancer increases in people who have frequent gum bleeding episodes and do not receive dental check-ups(5). Sometimes swollen and bleeding gums may be due to the underlying bone and soft tissue damage caused by leukaemia (6) (Cancer of white blood cells of our immune system). Therefore, if you experience any of these complications with your gum, then you need to visit your dentist to stop the progress of the disease into more detrimental stages.
Experiencing sharp pain after drinking a cold or hot food or beverages can be a sign of tooth sensitivity. This condition often arises when the tooth erosion exposes the inner layer of your tooth known as dentin. The attachment of various nerves to this layer means that any stimuli can affect the nerves attached to your dentin and cause discomfort. Sugary drinks or beverages with high acidity are known to cause tooth sensitivity. For example, the acidity in wine is known to cause dental erosion (7). Carbonated soft drinks are also one of the main factors that can cause tooth erosion (8). Higher frequency and intensity of tooth brushing can be additional factors that lead to enamel erosion. Your dentist can guide you to make some changes to your daily routine and direct you to purchase a toothbrush and toothpaste explicitly designed for a sensitive tooth.
Impacted Wisdom Tooth
Wisdom teeth are the final set of teeth to erupt and appear on the gum surface. Occasionally, the eruption of wisdom teeth can be blocked by other teeth (impacted) which causes significant pain, inflammation and infection. If this is not adequately cared for, it may result in a cyst or tumour growth. Based on the position of your nerves, your dentist may opt for total removal of your wisdom tooth or its partial removal where the roots are kept intact.
Unbalanced Jaw Growth
Some people experience unequal upper and lower jaws growth which leads to facial asymmetry. This condition can reduce the abilities to chew, swallow, speak, and even breathe. The facial asymmetry can be caused by various factors such as genetics, trauma and tumour formation affecting the jaw bone (9,10). When this occurs, a surgical procedure is needed to reset the upper and lower jaws to a more balanced and healthy position. It is imperative to get the opinion from your dentist regarding the options that will help stop the asymmetrical jaw growth.
- Loktionov AL, Konoplya AI, Lunev MA, Karaulov A V. Immune and oxidant disorders in the pathogenesis of inflammatory periodontal diseases. Immunologiya. 2015;36(5):319–28.
- Gürsoy M, Gürsoy UK, Sorsa T, Pajukanta R, Könönen E. High salivary estrogen and risk of developing pregnancy gingivitis. J Periodontol [Internet]. 2013 Sep 1;84(9):1281–9. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23237582
- Offenbacher S, Weathers DR. Effects of smokeless tobacco on the periodontal, mucosal and caries status of adolescent males. J Oral Pathol [Internet]. 1985 Feb 23;14(2):169–81. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0714.1985.tb00480.x
- Marques LA, Eluf-Neto J, Figueiredo RAO, de Góis-Filho JF, Kowalski LP, de Carvalho MB, et al. Oral health, hygiene practices and oral cancer. Rev Saude Publica. 2008;42(3):471–9.
- Chang JS, Lo H-I, Wong T-Y, Huang C-C, Lee W-T, Tsai S-T, et al. Investigating the association between oral hygiene and head and neck cancer. Oral Oncol [Internet]. 2013 Oct 1 [cited 2018 Oct 24];49(10):1010–7. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1368837513006350
- Moloney WC. Clinical Significance of Oral Lesions in Acute Leukemia. N Engl J Med [Internet]. 1940 Apr 4;222(14):577–9. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJM194004042221404
- George R, Chell A, Chen B, Undery R, Ahmed H. Dental erosion and dentinal sensitivity amongst professional wine tasters in South East Queensland, Australia. Sci World J. 2014;2014.
- Hasselkvist A, Johansson A, Johansson A-K. Dental erosion and soft drink consumption in Swedish children and adolescents and the development of a simplified erosion partial recording system. Swed Dent J [Internet]. 2010;34(4):187–95. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21306084
- More CB, Gupta S. Osteochondroma of mandibular condyle: A clinic-radiographic correlation. J Nat Sci Biol Med [Internet]. 2013 Jul;4(2):465–8. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24082753
- Bishara SE, Burkey PS, Kharouf JG. Dental and facial asymmetries: a review. Angle Orthod [Internet]. 1994;64(2):89–98. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8010527