Exploring Oral Health Symptoms, Issues and Solutions

3 Surprising Signs it's Time to Make an Appointment with a Dentist

Everyone should see a dentist at least annually, for a routine checkup and cleaning. This visit can include X-rays to see if cavities are developing and to note if a person has been neglecting their overall oral hygiene. However, there are times when it's good to see a dentist in between these routine visits, and you might be surprised at how a dentist can help with certain health concerns. Note the following.

1. Excessive snoring

In some cases, snoring can be caused by fatty tissue on the upper palate, which is the roof of the mouth in the back. When air passes over this tissue, it causes it to vibrate and in turn, a person snores. This tissue can usually be removed by a dentist using a scalpel or a laser, so that their air passages are open during sleep. Snoring is not a health concern to ignore, as it can interfere with a person's sleep and cause damage to the throat and mouth itself. If you snore excessively, see your dentist for a thorough exam.

2. Waking up at night.

If you find that you often wake up in the middle of the night, it may be that you suffer from sleep apnea. This is a cessation of breathing during sleep. Your body will wake itself up just long enough to get back to sleep. In many cases you don't realize this is happening but in other cases you may realize that you're suddenly awake for no reason.

Many cases of sleep apnea are also caused by fatty tissue in the soft palate, as it blocks airways. Having this removed can not only keep you from snoring, it can keep you breathing easily so your body won't keep waking itself up throughout the night.

3. Frequent headaches accompanied by jaw or neck pain

Headaches can be caused by any number of factors, but when you also have jaw or neck pain as well, this often means it's time to see a dentist. Jaw and neck pain may actually be caused by problems in the mouth; you may be grinding your teeth at night or clamping your jaw, so that muscles in this area are overworked. In turn, the pain radiates to your neck and up to your head.

A dentist can fit you with a bite guard to protect your teeth at night, or note if your teeth are out of alignment and not providing support for the upper and lower jaws as they should. A dental appliance or cosmetic fix can mean relief for the muscles and in turn, relief from your headaches.