Schenectady general dentistIf you’re conscious of your oral health, there are certain things you watch out for to anticipate impending problems. Oral pain and dark spots on the teeth are easy enough to notice. The danger is, not every dental problem comes with such a clear broadcast of symptoms.

The signs we’re discussing today may be secret to you, but you can increase your awareness of their weight. Once you’re up on the potentially serious diseases and disorders that could be behind seemingly benign signs, you’ll know when to call Dr. Scotto’s office. No matter the problem, if you catch it early on, you have a better chance of minimizing damage.

Do You Have a Cavity?

Cavities seem like the simplest dental problem to watch for – they’re accompanied by discomfort and darkening teeth, right? In reality, a cavity can go unfelt and unnoticed for months. For this reason, your best bet against tooth decay is maintaining regular dental exams. Most patients should visit the office every six months, although there are some factors that require more frequent appointments (like tobacco use or past periodontal disease).

While tooth pain is the most common sign of a cavity, other symptoms are slightly less obvious:

  • Swelling in the gums near the offending tooth, which usually points to advanced decay / an abscess
  • Persistent bad breath that doesn’t change with brushing and flossing
  • Strange spots showing on the teeth, ranging in color from white to grey to black

Guarding Against Grinding

Chronic teeth grinding, or bruxism, is a rampant problem – but one that often goes undiagnosed. Why the lack of treatment? Because many patients don’t realize it’s happening. Most grinding takes place during sleep, so the grinder isn’t aware that their jaws are misbehaving.

Schenectady general dentist

Grinding can lead to a slew of issues, from broken dental work and chipped teeth to a receding gum line and even a jaw disorder. Be on the lookout for bruxism by watching for the following (usually in the morning, just after waking up):

  • Sore teeth
  • A fatigued jaw that’s hard to move
  • Swollen gums
  • Worn enamel on the bite surface (look for this on the tops of your teeth)
  • Feeling tired during the day, even after what should have been a full night’s sleep
  • Sensitive teeth that twinge when exposed to hot or cold
  • Facial or ear pain
  • Tight facial/jaw muscles
  • Bites inside your cheeks

When A TMJ Disorder May Be Taking Hold

If your grinding continues unchecked, it could lead to a TMJ disorder. The TMJ is the temporomandibular joint, and is located on both sides of your face, just in front of and below your ears. This joint is delicate, and excessive jaw movement can result in damaged tissues and malfunctioning jaw muscles. If the TMJ disorder isn’t treated, your jaw can become painful and difficult to operate.

Signs of TMD (TMJ disorder) are similar to many signs of bruxism, but are usually more intense. If you’re feeling like your jaw isn’t working properly, you should contact our office to learn more about treatment. The discomfort and frustration of jaw problems shouldn’t be a part of your life.

Time to Visit Your Schenectady General Dentist?

If it’s been some time since your last appointment, don’t stress – just give us a call and schedule an exam. Nothing feels as good as the peace of mind you gain after getting a clean bill of health. And no matter how vigilant you are at home, there are still signs of problems that only x-rays and a professional eye will be able to identify.

Contact us today to get your next routine appointment on the books.

Schenectady General Dentist | Schenectady General Dentistry | Schenectady Dental Exam

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Robert M. Scotto, D.D.S.
615 Union St.
Schenectady, NY 12305
518-374-9770

  

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