Do you know what symptoms are warning signs of serious dental issues? Understanding the early warning signs of gum disease, oral cancer, and tooth decay could help you avoid serious dental problems in the future. Sharpen your dental IQ with this quiz, and, the next time you visit Dr. Villani, quiz him!
1. What is the most common cause of a toothache?
a. Gum disease
b. Cracked tooth
2. What is often the first sign of gum disease?
a. Tooth decay
b. Bleeding gums
c. Chipped teeth
3. Which behavior increases your risk of oral cancer?
c. Playing sports
4. Which procedure can save an infected tooth?
c. Root Canal
5. Which of the following signs indicates bruxism?
b. Stained teeth
c. Bleeding gums
Answers and Explanations
1. C. Cavities are the number one cause for toothaches. Decay on the enamel of a tooth may not cause pain, but as the decay extends into the dentin, the tooth will become sore. When tooth decay grows to infect the nerve of your tooth, you can feel the discomfort and sensitivity. For the record, gum disease and cracked teeth are the second and third most common causes of toothaches, respectively.
2. B. Oral bacteria can weaken and infect your gums, causing gum disease, inflammation, and bleeding. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss. Additionally, bacteria can enter your bloodstream through infected soft gum tissue and contribute to serious health complications, such as heart disease, complications during pregnancy, and diabetes.
3. B. Smokers have a greater risk of developing oral cancer. If you are a smoker and you notice a sore or lesion in your mouth that doesn’t disappear within 14 days, contact Dr. Villani for an oral cancer screening.
4. C. Dr. Villani can perform root canal treatment to save an internally infected tooth from dying. In most cases, the only alternative to root canal treatment is extraction. Today, however, root canals are faster, more comfortable, and more effective than ever.
5. A. Grinding or clenching your teeth, a condition called bruxism, can cause tooth wear and breakage — and normally happens at night. Bruxism leads to tooth sensitivity and malocclusion. It can also create a jaw joint imbalance called TMJ disorder. If you clench and grind your teeth, ask Dr. Villani about a night guard.
At your six-month checkup with Dr. Villani, he will thoroughly examine your mouth to check for damage or signs of infection. Discovering your dental problems in the beginning stages will reduce your need for complicated procedures in the future. To assess your oral health, call Brighton Family Dental Group in Brighton, MA, at (617) 562-5210 to request an appointment with Dr. Villani. We welcome patients from Brighton, Watertown, Cambridge, Brookline, Newton, and the surrounding communities.