Dental signs and symptoms are often overlooked if they do not involve pain.  Ignoring the issues may cause much bigger problems for you if not treated. How do you know if you need to see a dentist right away? Below are some signs and symptoms that should give you an idea about when to make an appointment to see your dentist to have things checked further.

Symptoms That Dental Care Is Needed

Tooth Sensitivity. When a tooth becomes sensitive to sweets, pressure, heat, or cold temperatures it is a sign of a dental problem. Tooth decay, tooth enamel erosion, gum recession, fractures, and nerve trauma are some common causes of tooth sensitivity. If left untreated many of these can lead to more extensive treatments like crowns, root canal therapy, or even tooth loss.

Dental Health Tip: Using toothpaste for sensitive teeth can help decrease the problem, but should still be addressed by the dentist. If the sensitivity is a more recent or sudden development, don’t try to just  mask the symptoms, see your dentist and he/she can help you find the best treatment.

Bleeding Gums When Brushing. Healthy gums do not bleed when brushing and flossing. Bleeding gums are a sign of periodontal disease. In its earliest form, gingivitis,  is reversible. Once it progresses, it is becomes harder to treat to restore health. Periodontal disease will lead to gum recession, bone loss, dental infections, and eventually tooth loss. Your hygienist will deep clean around the teeth and gums and give you guidance for better at home hygiene.

Dental Health Tip: Brush at least twice a day and floss at least once per day to keep your gum tissues healthy.

Bad Breath. Also called Halitosis. The most common cause of bad breath is poor dental hygiene. Other causes of bad breath include dry mouth (xerostomia), uncontrolled diabetes, decay, disease, or even diet. Mouthwashes and mints are a billion dollar business but they mainly mask the problem and do not fix the underlying problem.

Dental Health Tip: Maintain regular dental cleanings to keep plaque and food debris from causing bad breath.

Oral Ulcers. These can be quite painful with causes ranging from infection (bacterial, viral, or fungal) to apthous ulcers (canker sores), or irritations from dental appliances. It is recommended that any sore lasting more than 5-7 days  or with high frequency of recurrence ,should be checked by your dentist to ensure your health.

Dental Health Tip: Choose a toothpaste that is sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) free to limit canker sores.

-Pregnancy. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can make the gums more reactive to plaque and easily susceptible to the inflammatory process. Pregnancy gingivitis is a common condition that can be controlled or avoided with diligent at home care and professional cleanings. Periodontal problems during pregnancy have been associated with babies being born with low birth weight.

Dental Health Tip: As soon as you know you are pregnant seek dental care to ensure you do not have any underlying issues that could compromise the health of the growing baby.

Loose Teeth. Noticeable movement of teeth is a sign of attachment loss of connective tissues. Whether due to trauma, infection, or periodontal disease, mobility of a tooth needs to be checked by your dentist.

Dental Health Tip: At first sign of a loose tooth see your dentist immediately. Healthy teeth should not be loose.


Most dental emergencies can be avoided with routine dental care. Seeing your dentist at the first sign of trouble can save you time and money. Prevention is the best medicine.