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You may be able to get away with using home remedies like making your own toothpaste or trying alternative medicines for tooth pain for a while. But sooner or later, there’s going to be a time when you’ll need professional dental care.

It’s no secret that nobody loves going to the dentist, hence why so many of us avoid going at all costs. But here’s the thing — it doesn’t have to be such a painful experience! If you find a great local dentist like this, dentist visits can actually be, dare I say it, enjoyable.

To help get you excited for the dentist (or at least realize that you have no choice but to go), we’ve put together a list of common signs that it’s time to schedule an appointment with the tooth doc. If you find yourself in one of these situations, check Google to find a dentist in your area with stellar reviews and book an appointment to take care of what’s ailing your teeth.

It’s been six months since your last cleaning

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With regular dental check-ups and good oral care, there’s no reason why your teeth shouldn’t last a lifetime. Most dentists recommend dental check-ups once every six months. Your dentist can help keep your teeth healthy and may detect symptoms of other medical issues that manifest inside your mouth.

Toothaches

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Pain or swelling in your mouth could be the result of a toothache or an indication of a more serious problem. Most of the time, the pain will be from a cavity. But it could also be because of gum disease, an impacted tooth or an abscess. Having a toothache is a sure sign that you should schedule an appointment with your dentist immediately.

Swollen or bleeding gums

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Bleeding gums that occur while brushing your teeth or eating could merely be the result of brushing too hard or using dental floss. But they could also be from a gum disease called gingivitis. In the early stages, having your dentist clean your teeth may be all that’s necessary to treat gingivitis. In more advanced stages, it may require surgery. If you have consistently bleeding gums, visit your dentist as soon as possible.

Difficulty chewing or swallowing

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Occasional swallowing issues because of a lump in your throat may not be of any major concern. If the problem persists, it could be due to a medical issue called dysplasia that usually occurs with older adults when the muscles in their throat become weak.

Although taking care of your teeth will not cure dysplasia, good dental hygiene plays an essential role in preventing and minimizing swallowing issues. Your dentist can work with your medical doctor to determine the best course of treatment.

Chronic dry mouth

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The saliva inside your mouth is your tooth’s first defense against tooth decay. If your mouth is dry, the debris that can produce bacteria inside your mouth will not be present. Dry mouth can be a side effect of certain medications taken for high cholesterol, diabetes or high blood pressure. Your dentist can recommend a special toothpaste or mouthwash designed to help restore moisture to your mouth. He or she also may refer you to a medical doctor If necessary.

Tobacco use

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According to the American Dental Association, tobacco use is bad for your oral health. Smoking and chewing tobacco cause stains on your teeth and tongue and changes in your sense of smell or taste. Using tobacco products can also lead to more severe problems ranging from gum disease to cancer. Talk to your dentist about how tobacco use affects your teeth and overall health.

Jaw pain

If you have jaw pain, it could be from a simple toothache or from several other reasons, including sinus problems, teeth grinding, and arthritis. If the jaw pain persists, go to the dentist. Your dentist will take X-rays and conduct a thorough exam to determine the cause of the pain.

Sleeping problems

Wait, trouble sleeping has something to do with your teeth? Well, kind of.

Your first stop for sleeping trouble should be your family physician, but if prescription medications don’t seem to be working, the culprit might actually be physiological. Tell your dentist that you’re having trouble sleeping, and they’ll evaluate your bite to see if your jaw structure may be inhibiting airflow. If so, the dentist can order a special mouthpiece that repositions your jaw to help you breathe better at night, which will translate into a better night’s sleep when you’re getting more oxygen to the brain.

Chronic bad breath

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Your average case of bad breath should clear up with regular teeth brushing, flossing, and mouthwash (throw in some mint gum for extra measure). But if that’s not enough to keep your halitosis at bay, you may have a rotten tooth or gum disease that’s creating the foul odor.

When you visit the dentist, let the hygienist know that you’re dealing with troublesome bad breath and they’ll start with a quick checkup to see if they can find the issue. If it’s a rotten tooth, you may need a root canal or extraction.

You’re unhappy with your smile

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You should be proud to show off your pearly whites in public. If you find yourself avoiding cracking a grin around others (a quick look at the selfies on your phone will answer this question), your dentist may be able to help win back confidence in your smile.

There are a few ways that the dentist can improve your smile. Beyond semi-annual cleanings that scrape off buildup, you can have your teeth professionally whitened to improve their brilliance. You can also ask for a referral to the orthodontist to see if braces would improve your bite.

In rare cases where your smile troubles can’t be solved with whitening and braces, a cosmetic dentist can actually replace your teeth with crowns or veneers.

Ready to schedule your dental appointment?

If you don’t already have a regular dentist, Google makes it easy to find a reputable practice in your area. Start with a quick search in your city, ‘dentist in Lehi, UT’ for example, and look for a company that has excellent reviews and high patient satisfaction. As long as those two boxes are checked, chances are you’ll wind up with a great dentist.

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