Are you noticing something odd or painful happening in your mouth? Browse this photo guide to learn how to spot dental problems early.
Although dental problems can hurt your oral health without warning, most actually have signs you can spot early in a mirror. When you spot a developing dental problem on your own, you can hurry in to see your Little Rock dentist for treatment before it gets worse. Waiting too long to address an issue can lead to lasting complications, including infections and tooth loss. Use this helpful photo guide to learn about common dental problems and treatments so find out if you could be suffering from something your dentist needs to know about.
Cavities sometimes appear as a light brown or grey spot along the edges of your enamel. You may also feel sensitivity in that tooth or get food stuck there easily. As the tooth decay worsens, you may notice the color darkening and a pit forming along the affected edge of your tooth. To prevent the cavity from reaching the pulp and root, your dentist will remove the decay and fill the cavity to restore your tooth.
Image by tomdds on Flickr
Small white or red lesions on your tongue, inner lips, and throat are usually canker sores. The sores are often extremely painful, especially when you eat or drink acidic substances. You can buy a gentle mouthwash from your dentist to soothe the pain and help the sores heal faster.
Image by Daniel Nadolny on Flickr
Since most people suffer from bruxism, or teeth grinding, at night, the most obvious sign of a problem is jaw soreness in the morning. But over time, this grinding action wears away the enamel on your teeth, leaving them a deep yellow color along the affected areas. You can buy a mouth guard over the counter or ask your dentist to custom-make a mouth guard for you to prevent any more damage from bruxism.
Image from DentaGama.com
In the beginning stages, a lightly chipped tooth can be difficult to spot. But as the damage gets worsen, the chipped tooth will become obvious at first glance. If you notice any new rough edges on your teeth, have your dentist check for chipped surfaces. If caught early enough, your dentist may be able to restore the chipped area to prevent further damage.
Image from WhiteHorseHealth.com
Although thrush is typically found in babies, this oral yeast infection can happen at any age. When thrush strikes, you will notice a white rash on your tongue, inner cheeks, gums, and throat. To diagnose thrush, your dentist will do a mouth culture. If the culture confirms the presence of an infection, your dentist will prescribe an anti-fungal medication to clear up the white spots.
Image from WADentalGroup.com
Red, swollen gums that bleed while flossing are usually signs that you are in the early stages of gum disease. Dentists refer to this initial stage of gum disease as gingivitis to differentiate it from the advanced form of gum disease called periodontitis. Periodontitis is an indication of serious damage, but gingivitis is completely reversible. Just brush and floss regularly and visit your dentist for regular professional teeth cleanings.
Image by Juan Balboa on Flickr
An abrupt jolt or injury to your teeth can damage the nerve and root without an obvious sign of a problem, at first. Eventually, your tooth will start to darken at the center, signaling serious damage inside. Your dentist may need to remove your tooth, and replace it with a bridge or implant, to prevent a serious infection from developing.
Image by Dental Elegance
Red or white lesions inside your mouth that do not heal on their own or develop an odd texture may be a sign of oral cancer. Your Little Rock dentist will utilize lab tests and specialist visits to determine if your oral tissue has this condition. If you receive a positive diagnosis for oral cancer, a specialist will take over care to eliminate the lesions and restore your oral health.
Image from the Oral Cancer Foundation
Preventive and Restorative Dental Care
If you notice any of these common dental problems, contact your Little Rock dentist at Arkansas Family Dental for treatment by calling 501-683-8886. During your visit, your dentist will assess your symptoms, identify any issues, and offer the best treatment options.