What Does Your Painful Tooth Mean?

Don’t leave those niggling discomforts to chance. Seek professional dental help.

dental checkEspecially since the advent of the internet, we have all become ‘experts’ at diagnosing our health problems. A quick search can throw up a lot of possible answers to why we are feeling the way that we are.

The reliability of some of these sources can sometimes be called into question however.

The same applies when it comes to a problem with our teeth or gums. We can enter our symptoms and be told of the possible nature of the problem. From there, we can also find out how to treat it, sometimes even cutting out professional help. Thankfully, most of us use this as guidance only and will contact our Bedford dentist’s surgery for an appointment to have the problem professionally assessed. Those that don’t, and rely on online advice, may well regret it further down the line.

When should you see the dentist?

It is probably built into the psyche of many of us in the UK that we don’t want to ‘bother’ the doctor or dentist about what might seem a relatively trivial problem. Some small niggling discomfort of the teeth or gums can often be ignored with relative ease, especially if it is masked with a common painkiller such as paracetamol. We can quite happily go about our day without giving it too much thought.

The problem with this approach is that whilst it is possible that the problem might be something as simple as a piece of food that has become trapped in the gum causing some discomfort, and which will go when eventually dislodged; it is more likely that it is the start of a problem that will become worse over time. The advice that we give patients of The Dental Centre Bedford, is not to take a chance and to see a local dentist as soon as you can. Virtually all dental problems will become worse over time and can cause quite a significant amount of pain too.

Let us take a look at some fairly common dental problems that might start out relatively mildly, and take a look at the consequences if these are not treated early on.

Tooth decay

Perhaps the most common problem that we have with our teeth is decay. This is caused when the enamel is damaged and bacteria enter the inner part of the tooth. This is a gradual process and any discomfort might be relatively minor initially. If left though, not only is it likely to become more painful as the bacteria edges closer to the nerves in the tooth, but the cavity caused by the decay will spread and become much larger.

Seeing a dentist early on is likely to mean that a small filling will be required. If you leave the problem though, hoping that it will go away, you will almost certainly need a much larger and deeper filling. In some cases, the damage caused might be so significant that you need to have a crown or even, in some cases, may need to have the tooth extracted.

Chipped or cracked tooth

Some chips and cracks can be relatively harmless and may be largely cosmetic. Others though may have weakened or damaged the enamel, allowing bacteria to enter. As mentioned above, this can lead to tooth decay and even in some cases, painful root canal infections. Depending on the nature of the damage, it could also weaken the tooth and cause it to crack further, or even break. If you see a dentist soon after you are aware of any damage, you will hopefully be able to avoid any significant problems with the tooth and may require relatively minor intervention. Again though, leaving this tooth as it is could lead to more significant problems and surgical treatment as the problems become more serious.

Gum disease

At The Dental Centre Bedford, we recommend that our patients see the hygienist at regular intervals. This is to enable you to keep any gum infection to a minimum and under control. Although there are some common symptoms to gum disease, such as sore and tender gums, these are not always present.

Early stage gum disease, known as gingivitis, is usually treatable through better home cleaning combined with a professional clean, or ‘scale and polish’, which the hygienist will carry out. If the problem is allowed to advance though, a stage known as periodontitis, this treatment is no longer likely to be sufficient. During this stage of gum disease, the roots of the teeth and surrounding bone tissue can also become infected and can result in loose teeth or even tooth loss. To attempt to treat this, an invasive treatment known as root planing may need to be carried out by a suitably qualified dentist.

Our advice is to make sure that you see a hygienist regularly if you don’t already. For those of you that don’t and notice some redness or soreness of the gums, get it checked out before the problem becomes more serious.

Most oral problems are progressive and should therefore be investigated early on. The above are just three of these but others, such as oral cancer symptoms, can even be potentially life threatening. Good mouth health is important and should not be thought of as separate from your general health. If you suspect something is not right, even if you have recently had your check up, please don’t leave it until your next one and contact us straight away so that it can be investigated.

For both routine and emergency appointments, please call our Bedford dental practice on 01234 819868.