It's important that adults and children see a dentist regularly so that they can get problems like cavities and gum disease treated and addressed before they become serious. A dentist can also perform a very thorough cleaning of teeth to keep them healthy.
However, in between regular checkups and visits, there are times when you should see a dentist for an examination and treatment. You may overlook certain symptoms that indicate you need dental care, so consider a few of those signs and symptoms here.
1. You have pain outside the hinges of the jaw
When the hinges of the jaw are sore and stiff, this is usually a sign that the teeth are not resting on each other as they should. The upper and lower jaws need to be supported properly or the muscles that work them get overused and in turn, you'll feel pain along the jaw line.
A dentist can note if your teeth are misaligned and therefore not supporting each other as they should, and if you have missing teeth these too can be part of the problem since the open gums are not providing support. Braces, veneers, and other solutions for misaligned teeth can help to address these problems.
2. It hurts to chew
Unless you've just recently injured your teeth or jaw, it should never hurt to chew. When you feel pain that radiates in the area of the teeth or below the gum line every time you chew, this may be a sign of cavities or of gum disease. You may also have recessed gums, which in turn expose too much of the teeth and these become irritated and painful when you eat. Rather than assuming that this pain is just natural or a sign of old age or that it will go away, see a dentist for a full checkup.
3. You have persistent headaches that cannot be explained by another cause
One reason that headaches can be addressed by your dentist is that they may also be the fault of misaligned teeth, or you may have headaches because of an oral infection or gum disease. Any pain that is felt in the area of the jaw can radiate up the back of the neck and cause headaches along the temples and in the back of your head as well. If you cannot explain your headaches by way of allergies, stress, or any other cause, see your dentist. He or she may be able to pinpoint the cause and address it quickly and easily.