At Soft Touch Dentists, we understand that it can be all too easy to put off general dentistry exams. Next week becomes next month, and before you know it, it’s been years since your last visit to the dental office. While you should always strive to schedule regular dental exams, painful and worrisome oral symptoms can prompt you to make an appointment with your dentist. In today’s blog, we’ll look at six symptoms that should never be ignored. Soft Touch Dentists is proud to provide general dentistry and family dental care in the Washington, DC area. If you have been experiencing any of these symptoms, or if it’s been a while since your exam, contact our dental office today to schedule an appointment!

Bleeding Gums

Discovering that your gums are bleeding can be alarming. Many people who begin flossing or using a new toothbrush can expect to have their gums bleed for a short period of time. Adhering to a regular flossing schedule can help your gums to become tougher and bleed less when you are flossing and brushing. If you find that your gums are bleeding for no reason at all, or if they are bleeding for extended periods of time, you should make an appointment with your local dentist. Persistently bleeding gums can be a symptom of gum infections and an early warning sign of gum disease. Both of these conditions are treatable, but it’s important that they are addressed as early as possible.

Increased Sensitivity

If you find that your teeth are becoming more sensitive to hot and cold food and drinks, you should immediately discuss this symptom with your dentist. Sensitivity to hot and cold substances can be caused by teeth whitening kits as well as teeth grinding, and both of these causes are easily treated. If your teeth have become more sensitive due to the use of a whitening kit, abstaining from whitening products should give your teeth plenty of time to heal. If you suspect that you’re unknowingly grinding your teeth throughout the night, a bite guard or nighttime retainer can help protect your teeth.

Increased sensitivity to hot and cold can also be a symptom of cavities (also known as tooth decay). Tooth decay dissolves the protective enamel around your teeth, and if left untreated, it can make its way to the nerve centers of your teeth. In any case, if you experience a sudden or gradual change in your sensitivity to hot and cold substances, talk with your dentist to see if you can discover the cause of the problem.

Pain and Aching

Persistent pain in your teeth is a serious problem that should never be left untreated. Toothaches can often be attributed to eating something that is too hard or from grinding your teeth throughout the night, but they can also be caused by infections and cavities. If you have a pain or ache that lasts for more than one day, you should immediately schedule an appointment with your local dentist. Untreated infections and cavities can damage the nerve endings of your teeth to the point of being untreatable, so it’s vital that you make an appointment as soon as you experience a toothache.

Bad Breath

All of us are familiar with the fact that bad breath is often caused by the foods we eat. Garlic, onions, and other strong odors tend to linger in the mouth long after they have been ingested. Improving your diet and hygienic practices is nearly guaranteed to improve your breath, but persistently bad breath is a prominent symptom of gum disease. If you find that no changes to your routine seem to improve your breath, your dentist may be the only person that can help.

Sores, Lumps, and Lesions

Sores, lumps, and lesions can often be attributed to poor hygienic practices and stress. Many people bite the insides of their lips when they find themselves stressed, causing painful sores to form on the inside of the mouth. White spots on the inside of the mouth, also known as canker sores, are often attributable to poor diet and nutritional deficiencies.

If you discover lumps that are painful and sensitive on the inside of your mouth, you should immediately schedule an appointment with your local dentist, as unexplained lumps are often an early stage of oral cancer. Though oral cancer is prominent in tobacco users and heavy drinkers, oral cancer can develop in anyone.

White Spots on Your Teeth

As we’ve noted throughout this post, tooth decay is a serious condition that requires immediate treatment. Many people who use home whitening kits experience uneven whitening effects resulting in spots on their teeth. If you discover that your teeth are developing spots in the absence of whitening products, this is likely the first stage of tooth decay in which the protective enamel around the tooth is beginning to dissolve. While this symptom is easily noticed if it occurs in the front of the mouth, it can also occur behind and on the sides of the teeth, making it incredibly difficult to notice. Regular dental exams provide your dentist with the opportunity to find and diagnose tooth decay in areas you probably can’t see on your own.

These are just a few of the oral symptoms that should never be ignored. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, don’t hesitate to contact our Washington, DC dentists. We offer family general dentistry, oral surgery, and so much more! Contact our office today to schedule an appointment!