A family dentist treats children as young as one to adults well into their 80s and older. You know it's essential to brush and floss daily, but regular dental exams are critical to maintaining the oral health of your entire family. Warnings signs of tooth issues are often caught early enough during these exams to say, reverse the beginning stage of gum disease (gingivitis) or diagnose a TMJ disorder. A busy schedule gets in the way for the best of us, though, so it's important to keep watch for signs of common, sometimes severe, dental issues, including:
1. Erupting Teeth
Children may be seen by a family dentist shortly after their first tooth comes in, around the age of one - mainly for the parents to be educated on how to care for their child's newly erupting teeth. Regular dental hygiene appointments are recommended once they reach three years of age. As your kids get older and begin losing their baby teeth, their adult teeth may "erupt" from their gums unevenly, requiring early orthodontic work, extractions, or other dentistry options. This also applies to "wisdom teeth," the third molars that erupt in your teens or early 20s.
2. Loose Adult Teeth
Your adult teeth are meant to last a lifetime, so loose or shifting teeth at any time is a concern—whether you're in your teens, 30s, or 60s. Loose teeth can develop due to a jaw or mouth injury, advanced gum disease (periodontitis), bone loss, and other causes. Advanced periodontitis causes your gums to recede and pull away from your teeth, creating pockets for bacteria to breed. That may expose the tooth root, which can endanger the integrity of your jaw bone, ultimately leading to tooth loss. Gum recession is especially common in adults over 65.
3. Bleeding Gums
Bleeding gums when you brush and floss is one of the earliest signs of gum disease and can affect anyone in your family. Fortunately, proper oral hygiene and regular dental cleanings can restore a healthy mouth. It's essential to schedule an appointment with a dentist when you notice any amount of bleeding, redness, or inflammation when you care for your teeth.
4. Dry Mouth
Dry mouth can be caused by medications or specific illnesses such as diabetes. Your oral health depends on adequate saliva to wash away food particles and to monitor the acids in your mouth for the prevention of cavities and other dental problems. Drink plenty of water and schedule an appointment to determine the cause if you or a family member has recurrent dry mouth.
Toothaches, pain, and sensitivity should never be ignored, as these can indicate dental caries, tooth infections, broken or cracked teeth, or issues with damage to previous dental work. You run the risk of extensive and costly dental care the longer you wait to see a dentist for a toothache.
Schedule Your Dental Exam in Greenville
If you or a family member is experiencing any of the issues listed above, contact our experienced family dentists at Wood Creek Dental in Greenville, South Carolina today at (864) 288-5300 to schedule a dental appointment. We serve the surrounding areas of North Carolina and South Carolina and offer dentistry services for all ages, including sedation dentistry for anxiety.