Regular dental checkups are just as important as annual physicals with your family doctor. Many people delay making dental appointments, reasoning that as long as they properly brush and floss at home, then they only need to visit if there is an emergency, such as a chipped tooth or loose filling. However, regular dental visits are essential not only for maintaining your oral health but also for identifying any issues before they become major problems. Here are some of the most common issues that dentists see in a standard checkup:
Cavities are damaged portions of the tooth where the enamel has been worn away, leaving holes in the teeth. Left untreated, cavities can cause a number of issues including tooth abscesses and root damage. You can reduce your chances of developing cavities through proper dental hygiene, including daily brushing and flossing, avoiding sugary snacks, and staying hydrated.
Gingivitis is caused by a buildup of plaque and tartar along your gum line. Signs that you may have gingivitis include bad breath, swollen or tender gums, and bleeding when you floss. Gingivitis can develop into periodontitis, a serious gum infection. While gingivitis is usually caused by improper dental hygiene, other factors can increase your risk, including smoking, certain medications, and some health conditions.
3. Crooked Teeth
Even people with exceptional dental hygiene may have dental problems. Sometimes a child’s adult teeth are misaligned as they grow in. Not only does this create self-esteem issues, but misaligned teeth are at a greater risk of being damaged in the areas where the teeth rub against each other.
4. Tooth Discoloration
Our teeth naturally become more yellow as we age, and individuals who regularly drink dark, acidic beverages such as coffee, black tea, red wine, or dark sodas will eventually notice staining on their teeth. Certain medications, medical treatments, and trauma to the tooth or jaw can also lead to discoloration. Discolored teeth can be treated once your dentist has determined the underlying cause.
Bad breath can be caused by a number of factors. Smoking and certain foods (such as garlic and onion) are often associated with bad breath. However, sometimes bad breath is the result of an underlying medical condition, so if you develop halitosis, you should consult with a dentist or your doctor to rule out any health issues.
6. Sensitive Teeth
If your teeth are sensitive to cold or heat, your enamel may have worn away enough to begin exposing the nerves of your inner teeth. There are many causes for this, including excessive tooth whitening, consuming acidic food or beverages, and teeth grinding. Consider switching to a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth, and speak with your dentist to determine an effective treatment.
7. Jaw Popping
The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) connect our lower jaws to our skulls. Like all joints, the TMJ will occasionally pop or click. However, if the popping becomes excessive or painful, you should seek treatment. The popping sound may be a sign of damage from arthritis, tooth grinding, jaw misalignment, or another issue, and could cause further damage if not treated.
These common problems are often easily treatable if detected early. However, left untreated they can become serious health issues, which is why dentists in Hicksville, NY state that visiting your dentist regularly is an important part of your family’s health care.