12 Signs You Need to See a Dentist

Be prepared, not scared. Man covering his mouth.

You Have Pain

Pain or swelling in your mouth, face or neck can mean a number of things.

Why toothaches are one of the top 10 dental symptoms to watch for >>

Photo of teeth and gum showing gum disease

Your Gums Are Acting Up

If your gums are puffy, they bleed when you brush or floss, or you have a family history of gum disease, it's time to make an appointment.

Woman hiding her smile holding a toothbrush

You Try to Hide Your Smile

Whether you're self-conscious about a missing tooth or hoping for a brighter smile, don't be shy about talking to your dentist.

8 ways to improve your smile >>

Computer generated 3-D image of a dental implant.

You've Had Work Done

If you have fillings, crowns, dental implants or dentures, see your dentist regularly to make sure everything is in great shape.

Blood sugar monitor

You Have Ongoing Medical Issues

Make your dentist part of your team if you have a medical condition (such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, eating disorders or are HIV positive), or you are undergoing medical treatment (such as radiation, chemotherapy or hormone replacement therapy).

A pregnant woman holds her belly

You're Pregnant

It's safe to go to the dentist while pregnant. In fact, pregnancy can make some dental problems worse, so don't miss your regular checkup.

What to expect (for your dental health) while you're expecting >>

Boy winces while eating an apple

You're Having Trouble Eating

Difficulty chewing or swallowing is not the norm. Try eating soft or liquified foods until you can see your dentist.

Image of older man drinking water

You Have Dry Mouth

Always feeling parched could be the sign of a medical issue or a medication side effect. Learn more about dry mouth >>

Man puts cigarette out in ashtray

You Use Any Kind of Tobacco

From bad breath to oral cancer, cigarettes and chewing tobacco are harmful to your overall and dental health.

Diagram of jaw bone and joint

You're Having Jaw Pain

Make an appointment if your jaw sometimes pops or is painful when opening and closing, chewing or when you first wake up. See a dentist also if you have an uneven bite.

Photo of a sore on bottom of tongue

Your Mouth Has Spots and Sores

If there's something that doesn’t look or feel right in your mouth, your dentist should examine any mouth sore that lasts a week or longer. Types of mouth sores include canker sores, cold sores, leukoplakia and candidiasis. They vary in their severity and causes. Mouth sores could be the symptom of a disease or disorder; infection from bacteria, viruses or fungus or result from irritation caused by braces, dentures or the sharp edge of a broken tooth or filling.

Woman talking to her dentist

It's Time For Your Checkup

Even if you don’t have any symptoms, checkups are important because they can help prevent problems from developing and treat existing symptoms before they become more advanced. What happens during a dental checkup >>

Find a dentist in your area >>