What 10 Common Mouth Issues Really Look Like (Part 3 of 3)
There are two reasons your tooth may change color after trauma: It’s either trying to protect the nerve or it’s dying. If it’s protecting the nerve, your tooth may look a little darker than the ones next to it. If it changes colors like a bruise (from pink to gray), this means your tooth is most likely dead. You may need a root canal, usually followed by a crown. In some cases it may be necessary to remove the tooth. If it is a baby tooth, you may be able to leave it alone until it falls out.
Canker sores are small white or gray sores with a red border that appear your lips, the back of your throat or under your tongue. Their exact cause is uncertain but some suggest that immune system problems, bacteria or viruses may be play a role. They are also more common in women.
Canker sores aren’t contagious and usually heal on their own after one or two weeks. Over-the-counter creams and mouthwashes may give you temporary relief. Until it heals, stay away from hot, spicy or acidic foods because these can irritate the sore.
Each year, approximately 40,000 new cases of oral cancer and cancers of the throat, tonsils and back of the tongue are diagnosed. Tobacco use, alcohol abuse and HPV all increase your chance of developing these cancers. Men are twice more likely to get oral cancer than women. During regular checkups, your dentist will check your mouth for symptoms like red or white patches, sores that won’t heal and rough, crusty spots. If anything suspicious is found, your dentist will order more testing or refer you to a specialist. The image above is only one example of how oral cancer might appear.