Hopefully, if you’re diligent about taking care of your teeth, you only visit the dentist every six months or so for your regular check-up. However, just like the rest of our bodies, our mouths experience aches and pains on a regular basis. So how do you know when to call the dentist and when to just leave things be? Here’s a couple solid rules of thumb to keep in mind.
1) If the pain or symptoms have persisted for more than a couple days, it’s probably a good idea to call your dentist. Toothaches or pain in your mouth can be caused by a bunch of ultimately harmless issues. For example, if you are stressed out and unconsciously clenching your jaw throughout the day or while you sleep, it can lead to a sore jaw. But, if you can let go of the stress a bit, you’ll find that the pain will disappear. Or, a minor sore in your mouth, or even an accidentally bitten tongue can cause some sharp pain, but will likely dissipate in a day or two. However, if five days or a week goes by and things still aren’t better, consider seeing a professional.
2) If you have any kind of significant bleeding, it’s a good time to reach out to your dentist. Some bleeding while flossing or brushing can be normal, especially if you haven’t been diligent about brushing or flossing in the past. However, if there is a significant amount of blood, or if you experience bleeding for multiple days in a row, it’s a good idea to call your dentist. It can indicate that you may have significant plaque build up or gum disease that needs to be addressed.
3) Any type of chipped or broken tooth warrants a call to your dentist. Hopefully this should be obvious, but if you experience any type of injury that results in a broken or chipped tooth, call your dentist! In some cases, a minor chip may be nothing to worry about and your dentist may just have you schedule an appointment at your convenience to have it fixed. But, a bigger chip or broken tooth can compromise the life of the tooth and it’s important to have it addressed as quickly as possible.
4) Significant pain is also a great reason to call your dentist. Some low key aches and pains can be a normal part of life and not anything to be concerned about. However, if you have extremely significant pain, even if you can’t find or figure out the cause for the pain, it’s a good idea to go see your dentist. It could mean that you have a broken tooth or another serious issue that you just can’t see. Your dentist will be able to use their specialized tools to get a great view of your mouth and diagnose the source of the pain.
At the end of the day, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. If you’re ever concerned that something abnormal is going on in your mouth, give your dentist a call! They may even be able to diagnose you over the phone and either calm your fears or invite you to come into the office for an appointment!