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Sometimes, ignoring a problem is the best way to get it to go away. But have you ever ignored something only to find that it gets worse? Maybe that funny sound your car was making ended up being an expensive fix. Or that headache that ended up being something more persistent or serious than you thought. Dentistry can be the same way, too. That’s why 1st In Smiles is a comprehensive dental practice that can take care of all those small problems before they become disasters. If you think you have a dental disaster on your hands, we’re still here to help.

Today, we want to share a few symptoms that could end up as dental disasters – but only if you leave them untreated.

Bad Breath

Everyone has eaten that that garlicky Italian dinner that leaves you self-conscious every time you open your mouth to talk. But for millions of people, bad breath is more than the after-effect of last night’s spaghetti. If you or your loved one has chronic bad breath, known as halitosis, there may be more at stake.

In about 90 percent of cases, persistent bad breath originates in the mouth. Regular brushing (including your tongue), flossing, and professional cleanings can help prevent this problem, but if it already persists, then it may be a sign that you have gum disease.

If you’ve read our blogs before, you should be familiar with gum disease. It’s a common but potentially serious disease that starts out as inflammation and can progress to an infection of the gums and even bone underneath. Once the bone becomes infected, it can begin to deteriorate and even result in tooth loss. Although most gum disease is from inconsistent home hygiene, there’s a genetic factor at play, too. And things like alcohol and tobacco use can compound the problem.

If your child, spouse, friend, or other family member is constantly complaining about your breath, or if you’re always popping mints or gurgling with mouthrinse, call our office to see if it’s a sign of gum disease.

Bleeding Gums

It’s normal to bleed a little bit when you floss your teeth. If your toothbrush bristles are too hard, you might experience some bleeding, too, and should switch out your toothbrush for one with softer bristles. But if you’re regularly bleeding when you brush and floss, it’s a big hint that something’s wrong. Like persistent bad breath, it can be an easy thing to pass off as normal, but, also like bad breath, it often means that you have some form of gum disease.

Bleeding occurs as a result of your gums becoming inflamed from the bacteria buildup that causes gum disease. Bleeding gums is a common sign of gingivitis, a mild stage of gum disease that many people experience. Without treatment or proper cleanings at your dentist, it’s possible for gingivitis to develop into a more serious form of gum disease, which is indicated by infection instead of just the inflammation that comes with gingivitis. Either way, it’s important to come see Dr. Barfield to provide a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Tooth Pain

Let’s get one thing straight: tooth pain doesn’t go away. No matter how much you’d like to avoid the dentist, if you have persistent tooth pain, it’s important to come in as soon as you can.

Tooth pain usually means one of two things: damage or decay. If your tooth has been injured and continues to hurt, you have likely done permanent damage. If your decay has progressed to the point that it consistently causes you discomfort, sensitivity, or pain, it will continue to do further damage without proper treatment.

Decay can be fixed with fillings or crowns, depending on the damage. It’s also possible you may need a root canal and dental crown to save your tooth and repair the damage, or removal of an abscess, or even tooth removal. The sooner you get here, the better chance we have of doing less expensive, minor repairs. If you’re anxious about coming, fear not! We have an awesome staff to keep you calm. If that’s not enough, you may want to take advantage of our sedation options.

Make an Appointment to Avoid a Disaster

So far, we’ve talked about three potential dental disasters and how we can help you avoid these. Next time, we’ll talk about three more problems, so we hope you check back to see what those are! In the meantime, call us for an appointment if you suspect a dental problem. We promise to take care of you in the most comfortable, kind manner and relieve your pain as soon as possible!