When you visit the dentist, no doubt he or she examines and also x-rays your teeth and all parts of your mouth. This exam can tell your dentist a lot about your overall oral health, and x-rays will find cavities and other such problems below the surface of the teeth. However, you might consider some issues to discuss with your dentist when it comes to your oral health, so he or she can ensure that your teeth and gums are as healthy as possible.
Saliva rinses away food particles as well as germs and bacteria in the mouth, so if your mouth is consistently dry, this might mean that debris is getting stuck to your teeth and gums. In turn, this can lead to erosion of the tooth enamel, increased risk of oral infection, and persistent bad breath. Your dentist might note some habits of yours that might need changing in order to address your dry mouth, such as switching to a different type of toothpaste and mouth rinse, not brushing with a drying agent like baking soda, and drinking more water. He or she might also prescribe certain medications or mouth rinses that help keep the mouth hydrated.
If you awaken with jaw pain, headaches, shoulder aches, or any type of soreness or stiffness around your head or upper body, it's good to mention this to your doctor, but also to your dentist. You may be clenching your jaw at night or grinding your teeth while you sleep, both of which can damage the teeth and erosion of the tooth enamel. Your dentist might fit you with a mouth guard of sorts, or recommend certain pillows and other such methods of avoiding these habits while you sleep.
Change in shape or alignment of teeth
Many people fail to realize that your jaw can change shape as you age; you might suffer bone loss, so that the jaw shrinks, as an example. Consistent pressure on the teeth, such as from a wisdom tooth that was never removed, can also cause teeth to shift. If you notice that your teeth seem to have shifted in alignment, or that your jaw has changed shape over the years and the upper jaw doesn't rest properly on the lower jaw, discuss this with your dentist. He or she may want to refer you to an orthodontist, to ensure the teeth are not damaged from becoming misaligned due to this change in the jaw.