Toothache is hell, yet people commonly let dental problems worsen instead of seeking diagnosis and treatment. This could be due to a fear of surgery, a belief that toothache will clear up and disappear, or just plain laziness. Whatever the causes, people tend to wait far too long to seek dental treatment, resulting in tooth loss further down the line.
This infuriates dentists, who know that if people schedule annual check-ups, most abscesses, infections and tooth decay issues can be avoided. Here are some warning signs that could be your body's way of telling you that a dental appointment is overdue.
Check Your Gums for Inflammation and Bleeding
Gum inflammation may seem innocuous at first, but it shouldn't develop in a healthy mouth. If your gums start to bleed during brushing or flossing, it may well be a sign that gingivitis or periodontitis has set in. In fact, around 20 percent of Australians suffer from one of these conditions, and both of them can lead to tooth loss. Your dentist can recommend an appropriate course of treatment to make sure things never get to that stage.
Sensitive Teeth Might Need Some Attention
Another common danger sign is when teeth suddenly become more sensitive to the heat or the cold. This may indicate that tooth decay has eroded some of the enamel at the surface of your teeth, exposing blood vessels to hot and cold substances. According to the Australian Dental Association, 11 million Australians are diagnosed with tooth decay every year, so the chances are that your teeth are at risk. Don't ignore sensitivity, as early treatment can quickly halt the progress of decay.
Take Action if an Abscess Becomes Apparent
If you need any more persuasion, it's worth talking a little about abscesses. If you have been suffering from a throbbing toothache intermittently for months, it could well have developed into something more serious, and disgusting. Dental abscesses develop either inside teeth that have been affected by tooth decay for long periods or at the junction between teeth and gums, and they are never a pretty sight.
If your toothache starts to be accompanied by severe bad breath, fever, increasingly sensitive teeth, a bitter taste in the mouth and swollen gums, it's definitely time for a trip to your dentist or an emergency dentist if you notice the symptoms out of hours. Allowing an abscess to worsen can cause it to spread to other teeth and the soft tissues around them. It's something that needs to be tackled as soon as it is detected.
However, for people who notice dental early warning signs and arrange regular check-ups, abscesses shouldn't be an issue. But if you are one of those people who ignore dental pain until it becomes excruciating, or are unlucky enough to experience a sudden onset of symptoms, seek help now.
Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved stories about the past. Whether the stories were about horses, wars, exploration or even dentistry, I loved to hear them. I find that knowing the history of something helps it to make sense and feel approachable. I know that some people have dental anxiety, and I too have suffered, but I also feel like the more you know about dental work and its history, the easier it is. This blog is dedicated to exploring the history of dentistry – What did ancient people use for fillings? How did early dentists numb their patients? Who was the first dentist? Those are just some of the questions I plan to answer here. Ready? Okay, let's dive into the history of dentistry together!