Is it Time for a Dental Checkup

dental checkup

dental checkupRaleigh. NC

Scheduling regular dental visits is important, so why do many people find it difficult? After all, the main purpose of a regular checkup is to make sure there are no problems and to maintain oral health. If the teeth and mouth feel and look fine, it is easy to put off visiting the dentist to use that time differently.

Occasionally something may arise that warrants a dental visit; these include major issues like an accident that hurts the teeth or mouth. But there are other, less-drastic warning signs that might suggest a checkup is in order. Even if the patient is scrupulous about regular checkups, another in-between checkup might be appropriate under certain conditions.

What are some of these?

Something is off with the teeth

Healthy teeth are not supposed to hurt, so if they do, a dentist should be consulted; this includes a fairly sudden increase in sensitivity to heat and cold. Both of these are signs of a cavity forming (or making progress into the tooth itself), and a cavity should be treated before it becomes worse.

Likewise, pain in the teeth – especially in the morning – may indicate bruxism, an involuntary grinding of the teeth which often occurs at night. A dentist would be able to diagnose and give treatment for this.

Something is off with the gums

Healthy gums, likewise, should not hurt or bleed; they should remain a nice pink color, and lie flat against the teeth. If the gums bleed often (as in, with every brushing or even without), if they are puffy, or an angry red color, this may indicate pockets formed by plaque or the beginnings of gum disease, and both should receive attention.

Something is off with the jaws

Jaw pain without obvious physical cause can warrant a checkup. Pain is the most obvious sign of temporomandibular joint disorder (usually abbreviated TMJ), a difficulty with the joints on both sides of the mouth that control the opening and closing of the mouth. While this can be caused by a number of things, including residual damage from previous injuries or even arthritis, it is usually caused by excessive clenching of the jaw. This, too, is a sign of bruxism and merits a trip to the dentist.

Alternatively, a dull throbbing in the jaw may indicate the eruption of wisdom teeth. While wisdom teeth don’t always require extraction, the dentist should probably check everything out to make sure they are coming in without problems and will not cause future disruption.

Something is off with the mouth in general

Dentists are the caregivers for nearly everything that goes on in the mouth, so if something is “off” with the whole area, it is usually best to have a dentist check it out. This can include random sores in the mouth (which can be a sign of infection or worse), burning tongue (often caused by bruxism), or even persistent bad breath not caused by a strong-smelling food recently consumed.

Follow-up after treatment

Sometimes, people need work done on their teeth, be it fillings, root canals, crowns, implants, etc. A routine follow-up is always recommended after this, and another visit is recommended if the dental work feels off in some way (loose, sharp, out of alignment, or just painful). Even if it ends up being nothing, an evaluation could save some major headaches – or toothaches – in the future.


Pregnancy can mean many things, but one of them can involve a change in eating habits. For many women, the first few months of pregnancy can involve nausea that can make the prospect of eating unbearable. Likewise, hormonal changes can cause a favorite food to become nauseating, and the most bizarre combinations can suddenly become very appealing. Furthermore, pregnancy hormones in and of themselves can promote cavities.

A dentist’s visit should become part of overall prenatal care. Dental visits are perfectly safe during pregnancy, even if x-rays are involved; dental x-rays cannot reach the developing fetus, and the x-rays are of such low radiation that images would have to be taken continuously for close to 48 hours for the dosage to come anywhere near being dangerous to mother or baby.

Whether it be a routine checkup or to check on something that seems off, Triangle Periodontics offers a wide range of dental services to the Raleigh area. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call (919) 782-9536 or e-mail