If you experience a dental problem this year, it’s likely to be on this list. Here are some of the most common dental problems for adults.
Sores on Cheeks, Gums, or Lips
Sores that appear on your lips or near your nose and chin are called cold sores or fever blisters. They are caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1. They are extremely contagious and you are likely to get them again once you have had them initially.
They can be triggered by fever, sun exposure, stress, or lowered immune system function, and the first symptom is a burning or tingling sensation. They usually heal on their own in a week or two. Your dentist can prescribe treatments to shorten the duration.
Sores inside your mouth are called canker sores. They are white or grey with red borders. Their cause is unknown, but they aren’t contagious. They usually heal on their own in a week or two.
It’s wise to avoid spicy or acidic foods until the sores heal to alleviate burning and pain. If a canker sore doesn’t heal on its own, you need to contact your dentist to make sure no further problems exist.
You may be at a higher risk for a chipped tooth if you regularly eat hard foods or you chew on ice. A chip may feel rough or painful, depending on how much loss was sustained. Your dentist can fix the chip with a veneer, crown, or tooth-colored filling.
The average adult between ages 20 and 64 has three or more decayed or missing teeth. A missing tooth can affect how you speak or eat. Bone loss may occur with a missing tooth. Your dentist can help you fix the problems with dentures, bridges or implants.
Do you experience tingling or pain when eating or drinking? Do you experience bleeding when you brush your teeth? If so, you may have sensitivity, a common problem. Your dentist can see if tooth decay, worn fillings or enamel, or an exposed root is related to the sensitivity. They can offer you special toothpastes to help decrease your sensitivity.
Spots on your Teeth
Whether you have white or dark spots on your teeth, it’s best to check with your dentist to understand what they mean. White spots can be a sign of tooth decay or they may be harmless. Black spots may indicate a tooth that needs to be pulled due to a loss of blood supply, or they may indicate cavities. Your dentist will know what to do about the spots.
If your gums feel sore or bleed when you brush your teeth, you may have gum disease. Gingivitis is the first step of gum disease, which can develop into a serious disease called periodontitis. Your dentist can show you proper brushing techniques and recommend other forms of treatment to improve the health of your gums.
Dry mouth is a common condition resulting from painkillers and other medical treatments. Your dentist can help you alleviate the problem so that periodontitis and tooth loss are prevented.
If you are experiencing headaches or jaw pain in the morning, you may not be aware that you are grinding your teeth at night. Your dentist can create a custom mouth guard to stop you from grinding your teeth.
Discoloration of Mouth Tissues
If you notice white patches inside your mouth, it may be a sign of anemia or a yeast infection called thrush. Your dentist can advise treatment for either problem.
If you experience a small white or red spot that slowly grows anywhere inside your mouth, it’s important to point it out to your dentist. They will examine the area for early signs of mouth cancer. A sore may be mouth cancer if it does not heal on its own, bleeds easily, becomes hard, becomes crusty, feels numb or tender, or interferes with your bite or swallowing.
According to a report from the Oral Cancer Foundation, more than 43,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancers each year, and 8,000 of them will die from oral cancer. Heavy alcohol use and smoking are contributing factors, along with human papilloma virus. If the cancer is caught early, the five-year survival rate is 80 percent. Regular dental appointments will help with early detection.
If you have any of the problems listed here, make sure to contact your dentist today. They will treat your symptoms and restore your peace of mind.