In Part I of our Smile Sarasota Blog on this topic, we discussed that it can be difficult to tell when you have oral health problems – not everything hurts. Smile Sarasota knows you want to be healthy in every way and your mouth will eventually ‘talk back to you’ if you aren’t paying attention! Your teeth may not be as healthy as you think they are. Part II talks about things to pay attention to rather than ignore.
- Are your teeth getting darker? – Sometimes dental problems can be seen rather than felt. When one tooth starts to look darker than the surrounding teeth, it could indicate a problem with the nerve inside the tooth. If a tooth is struck, often a sports injury, the nerve inside the tooth cannot sustain the trauma and often occurs in front teeth. If you see one tooth darkening, you should definitely consult Dr. Still…even if there is no discomfort. If you don’t pay attention to this, it can result in the loss of the tooth.
- Do you have mouth pain that lingers? If your teeth are healthy, you should not have discomfort when brushing, flossing, or chewing. Pain when biting or chewing can indicate you’ve sustained a temporary tooth injury or more serious damage. Sometimes you can have a ‘bruised tooth.’ For example, if you bite into something hard unexpectedly, the tooth can become tender for a few days. Like any bruise in your body, usually this eventually heals. Any tooth pain that does not go away after a week could be a sign of a serious issue, such as a cracked tooth, which might require further care.
- Are your teeth sensitive to hot and cold? Sensitivity to hot or cold foods and beverages can be a sign that a cavity is brewing in your teeth. Healthy teeth usually aren’t too sensitive to extreme temperatures, but ailing teeth might hurt or ache after you take a sip of a hot drink or enjoy a bowl of ice cream. Often, the length of time the teeth hurt are an indication of how severe the problem may be. Do not be alarmed if it hurts just for a second – this is common because sometimes cold drinks tend to trigger a bit of sensitivity for just a brief second. You know you may be having a problem if the sensitivity to cold or hot lasts longer and longer. Talk to Dr. Still about any sensitivity you might be experiencing.
- You notice you have a tense jaw when you wake up – If you frequently wake up with a sore jaw or a slight headache, jaw clenching or tooth grinding might be the culprit. Many people grind their teeth at night or clench their jaw during stressful moments. Tooth grinding or clenching can cause teeth to become sensitive to hot, cold, or even just pressure. Often patients are very aware that they have this problem because they catch themselves clenching or grinding during stressful situations. Sometimes grinding or clenching can translate into temporomandibular joint dysfunction or TMJ. This condition can have lasting consequences for your jaw.
- Your teeth seem to be getting longer or bigger – Teeth can sometimes appear to grow longer or wider and this is often a sign of gum disease or damage. Your gums may be gradually receding due to gum disease, but as this is a progressive disease, you might not notice at first. As your tooth roots become more exposed, you not only get that ‘long in the tooth’ look but start to feel sensitivity and pain. Another culprit is toothbrush abrasion. Heavy-handed use of a hard toothbrush can cause the gums to recede over time.
Call Smile Sarasota today if you have any of the issues discussed here and we will do our best to help you have healthy teeth and gums for life!
Sources and Credits: modernmindandbody.com, webmd, everydayhealth.com