When Is It Time to See a Dentist?
It's typically recommended that adults see a dentist at least once every year for a thorough check-up and exam as well as filling cavities and other such routine work. During your routine appointments, a dentist also notes developing problems such as damage to tooth enamel, teeth that are shifting out of place and the like.
While it's good to see your dentist every year or so, certain dental concerns might mean that it is time to make an appointment in between routine office visits. Note a few signs and symptoms that indicate it's time to see a dentist soon rather than waiting for your next appointment.
Spots in the Mouth
A dentist typically examines a mouth for signs of oral cancer, infection and other serious health concerns, but you need an immediate dental appointment if you notice spots and discoloured areas of the mouth in between routine visits. Some spots and irritations in the mouth are benign canker sores or minor infections; however, it is best to be cautious when you notice unusual spots, sores, irritations or other such marks inside the mouth.
It's especially vital for smokers, those who chew tobacco and others who are at high risk for oral cancer to make an appointment with their dentist if they notice unusual sores and spots. The sooner you have oral cancers and other serious health concerns diagnosed, the more likely it is that they will respond to treatment, so don't hesitate to make an appointment with your dentist if you should notice any such irritations inside your mouth.
Pain or Discomfort
Some people might assume that tooth pain is natural and something they need to live with, but pain and discomfort along the mouth and jaw can signal developing dental problems that need addressing. Sensitivity to hot and cold foods might indicate loss of tooth enamel, whereas jaw pain might result from grinding your teeth at night.
If left unchecked, many such dental problems get worse over time, potentially leading to cavities or chips and breakage. Pain in the jaw might interfere with your sleep, leading to even more serious health concerns. However, a dentist might easily pinpoint the cause of such pain and discomfort and provide a night-time bite guard or coatings that protect teeth from enamel loss. Whatever the case, don't put off seeing a dentist when you're experiencing tooth pain—make an appointment as quickly as possible.