When Should I Call My Dentist?

Most people are aware that bi-annual visits to the dentist are recommended for optimal oral health. That means that twice a year, you should be taking a trip to your dental office for a professional cleaning and exam. But are you aware about the other times that a dental appointment is appropriate?  Here’s a list of 10 signs that you need to see your dentist, according to an article from the American Dental Association’s website, MouthHealthy.org.

  1. You’re experiencing pain. A number of issues can cause pain or swelling in your mouth, face or neck, and it’s best to get it checked out.
  2. You’ve noticed a change in your gums. If they get puffy, bleed when you brush or floss, or if you have a family history of gum disease, you should discuss this with your dentist.
  3. You’re self-conscious of your smile. If you’re missing a tooth or embarrassed by stained teeth, your dentist can help.
  4. You’ve had work done in the past. Your fillings, dental implants, dentures, or crowns may require maintenance. See your dentist regularly to be sure they’re in good shape.
  5. You have a chronic medical condition. Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, eating disorders, or even HIV can all have an effect on your oral health. Your dentist should be a part of your health team.
  6. You’re with child. It has long been thought by many that it isn’t safe to visit the dentist while you’re pregnant. Not only is this absolutely false, it is actually highly recommended that you do so, considering pregnancy can make some dental problems worse.
  7. You’re experiencing trouble while eating. It is not normal to have difficulty chewing or swallowing. See you dentist as soon as possible.
  8. You have dry mouth. A lack of saliva production is a common medication side effect or sign of a medical issue. You don’t, and shouldn’t, have to live with it.
  9. You use tobacco products. Cigarettes and chewing tobacco are not only harmful to your overall health, but they negatively affect your oral health too.
  10. You notice spots and/or sores in your mouth. If it lasts longer than a week, your dentist should check out anything in your mouth that doesn’t look or feel right. There are many types of sores (canker sores, cold sores, leukoplakia and candidiasis), and they vary in severity and causes. They could be a symptom of a larger problem or an infection from bacteria or virus. Have them checked out to be sure.

Of course you should always keep up with bi-annual checkups, even if you aren’t experiencing any of these issues. Regular cleanings and exams are an important step in preventing future problems from developing and treating existing issues before they progress.

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