As professionals who specialise in oral health, dentists tackle infections every day. However, that doesn't mean that every oral infection you encounter should be taken to your nearest dental clinic. Here are four that your dentist should be able to treat.
Oral thrush may leave you with symptoms such as not being able to taste food properly, pain in your mouth and white patches along your tongue, gums and uvula. Although it isn't contagious in adults, it can feel uncomfortable. It can arise following antibiotic use, chemotherapy or when your immune system is suppressed. Your dentist can prescribe an anti-fungal treatment that should reduce the thrush. If they notice any underlying causes they can treat, such as another infection, they'll tackle that too.
Mouth ulcers that appear on your gums or soft palate may have an underlying dental cause. Sometimes the cause is obvious. For example, dentures that don't fit correctly or braces that have come loose can brush against the soft tissues in your mouth and cause ulcers. In a very small number of cases, ulcers that won't disappear may be an early sign of oral cancer. If your dentist believes the cause is more medical, they can refer you to an appropriate practitioner.
Gum disease is a condition that's relatively easy to treat. As you grow older, it's more likely to occur. When you attend your dental appointments at least once every six months, you're more likely to catch gum disease in its earlier phases. However, if you notice that your gums bleed when you brush your teeth and you're between appointments, schedule one so you can receive treatment as soon as possible. Treating gum disease early means you're less likely to experience tooth loss. You may receive a prescription for mouthwash and toothpaste, or your dental team may need to scale your teeth.
If you have pain around one of your teeth that won't go away, it may be due to a tooth infection. Even if you do experience a pain that eventually goes away, you can't rule out a tooth infection without a proper investigation. In a lot of cases, tooth infections require fillings or root canals. Both options allow you to keep the tooth. However, when they become more advanced, they may require a tooth extraction. Your dentist might also recommend that you take antibiotics to make sure you cover the full extent of the infection.