Wouldn’t it be nice if your mouth had a digital display like your car to tell you when there is a problem? Luckily, our mouth does send warning signs of emergencies but we just don’t recognize them. Open up and say, “Ahhh…” We are going to give you a tour of your mouth to help you understand how it signals an emergency is pending.
Just a Canker Sore, Or Is It?
Everyone has had a canker sore at some point in their life. These pesky irritants can be due to overzealous brushing, stress, an accidental cheek bite, or allergic reaction to a food and are not a cause for concern. They are not contagious and generally heal on their own without seeking treatment. But it is important not to dismiss every sore in your mouth the same way.
- Sores that persist and don’t seem to heal are a cause for concern. It can be an indication of an underlying health condition like diabetes. If you have a sore that lasts more than a week or two, it may be time to seek the advice of a professional.
- Red lesions or white patches may be a sign of one of the most common types of cancer, oral cancer. You are more at risk for oral if you use tobacco or drink heavily. Other symptoms include a sore jaw, difficulty swallowing, swelling in the neck, a lingering sore throat, numbness in the tongue or throat, constant bad breath, and weight loss. See an emergency dentist to have an oral examination if you feel these symptoms apply to you. Oral cancer has high rates of successful treatment if caught early.
Bleeding or Swollen Gums
Canker sores aren’t the only thing that can bother your gums. If you gums are bleeding when you brush your teeth, they might be telling you are developing gum disease. Three quarters of Americans have some form of gum disease. If treated early, it is reversible. The fix might be as simple as stepping up your brushing and flossing routine. Other conditions can also cause bleeding or swollen gums such as pregnancy and diabetes. If bleeding persists with regular home dental care more than a couple of weeks, it is a good idea to seek the help of your dentist.
You may think the appropriate remedy for bad breath is a mint. While that may be true after eating a spicy meal, if you have chronic bad breath, your body is trying to tell you there are more serious problems. Bad breath is a symptom of gum disease. It can also indicate there is untreated decay in your mouth that needs attention. As stated earlier, it can also accompany oral cancer. Instead of popping open the breath mints, you might need to pick up the phone and call an emergency dentist!
If you try to just follow Goldilocks’ example and avoid foods that are too hot or too cold because of sensitivity, it might be time for something else. Sensitivity is one way your mouth tells you that something isn’t right. The fix might be as simple as switching to a toothpaste for sensitive teeth. A dentist can determine from a x-ray if the sensitivity could mean an abscess or decay and help remedy the problem.
While this may be the most obvious indicator of underlying problems, it is important to emphasize so it is not overlooked. Pain or discomfort in the jaw can not only signal dental problems, but could also mean that you are having a heart attack. If in doubt, seek help.
Many people put off seeking help for these conditions because of cost. At Emergency Dental, we understand and have payment plans to help. If your car breaks down, you can always buy a new car. But, you only get one body, one mouth, and one set of teeth in this life. It is important to know and listen to the warning signs your body is sending you to help you travel safely and comfortably down your path in life!
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Dr. Roberto Monteagudo is an expert in advanced dentistry, full mouth reconstruction, neuromuscular dentistry and sedation dentistry. He attended the Las Vegas Institute of Advanced Dental Studies from 1999 to 2006 and graduated from Marquette University, School of Dentistry in 1990. Dr. Monteagudo speaks frequently throughout the Wisconsin area on advancements in dentistry and patient education. Dr. Roberto Monteagudo lives in Milwaukee with his lovely wife, Gina, and their seven children whom they make a top priority. He also enjoys outdoor activities and is deeply committed to giving back to his community through charitable events. His warmth and caring combined with his commitment to patient comfort through sedation dentistry, leading edge, gentle, and non-invasive technologies is the reason that his patients travel long distances to see him.