Includes Exam & X-Rays *For patients without dental insurance.
A dentist can tell a lot just by looking at your mouth—not just whether or not you floss. Below are some of the things you might be surprised to find out a dentist can tell about you just by glancing into your mouth!
When you say “Aah” your dentist can tell pretty easily whether you’ve got one of a few bad habits. For example, if you’re a nervous nail biter, it’s pretty obvious right off the bat. A dentist can see this because your front teeth may be chipped or cracked. Often, nail biters will have flat front teeth because of the contact that occurs between the top and bottom teeth. The constant stress grinds them down.
A dentist can also tell whether you were a thumb-sucker back in the day. Generally speaking, thumb-suckers don’t show too many symptoms, but those who carried the habit past age 7 or so start to exhibit some tell-tale signs. The bite or position of a late-in-life thumb-sucker’s teeth might be affected. Don’t worry though, this alignment can be adjusted with some orthodontic treatment.
There are a few pretty obvious signs of illness that show up in your mouth. For example, a sinus infection can cause some toothaches. Similarly, diabetes can exhibit symptoms in your mouth. People with diabetes often will have swollen, bleeding, or sensitive gums, an increase in decay, or a different consistency of saliva. These are signs that sugar levels are out of balance, which usually indicated diabetes.
Under more severe conditions, your dentist may identify signs of oral cancer in your mouth. Things like unexplainable or sudden bleeding, white or red patches in the mouth, lumps, bumps, and erosions are all generally consistent with oral cancer. If this is the case, an oral surgeon should be consulted to inspect any tissue that a dentist suspects may be cancerous.
A dentist can even tell if you’re pregnant, just by taking a peek inside your mouth! An overwhelming amount of women develop mild periodontal problems such as gingivitis when they become pregnant due to increases in progesterone that create bacteria in the mouth. Most women are pretty far along in their pregnancies when their gums begin to show signs of gingivitis, so don’t think your dentist is going to be able to tell before you are.
Canker sores are the sores that appear on the inside of the mouth either under the tongue or on the inside of your cheeks and lips, at the base of your gums, or on your soft palate. Don’t worry—these aren’t viral sores like cold sores, and you can’t spread them through sharing food, drinks, or kissing. They generally aren’t too serious, but can be seriously annoying! The severity of canker sores varies from minor to major. They can take anywhere from a few days to six weeks to heal.d
If you have canker sores and are wondering why—ask yourself these questions: Are you stressed? Have you been eating a healthy diet? Have you been eating very acidic foods or drinking acidic beverages? Excessive stress, poor diet, and acidic foods are all thought to contribute to canker sore development. They may also be an indicator of an underlying health problem like an iron or B-12 deficiency, or perhaps an immune system depreciation.
There are things you can do to relieve the pain from canker sores, although ultimately they must heal on their own. To alleviate some of the irritation, you can take ibuprofen or acetaminophen in small doses. Stay away from super salty snacks or tart foods that could sting or make the problem worse. Rinsing with warm water can also help soothe the pain of a canker sore.
It’s time to see a medical professional like a doctor or a dentist when canker sores keep coming back time and time again and won’t go away for weeks at a time. Chronic canker sores may be a sign that something more serious could be wrong. If your self-care practices aren’t doing the trick to relieve pain, and pain persists, you should call a doctor to see what they recommend.