It's good to see a dentist every six months for a cleaning and checkup, and of course you need to see a dentist in between these visits if you have a broken tooth or other obvious problem with your mouth or teeth. However, there are times when it's good to see a dentist for an examination and treatment, and the signs and symptoms of some problems with your mouth and teeth may surprise you. Consider a few of those here.

1. You snore excessively

Snoring may be caused by vibrations against the soft palate, which is the roof of the mouth near the back of the throat. When there is excess tissue in this area, it tends to vibrate when air passes over it and if this happens when you're sleeping, it can cause you to snore. A dentist can often remove this soft tissue with a simple laser or by cutting it away while you're sedated. In turn you may sleep more easily and avoid the discomfort of excess snoring.

2. You have headaches and neck aches.

You may have headaches, especially those in the back of the head, and neck aches because you grind your teeth at night. This puts undue pressure on the muscles around the head and the jaw. If you notice that your headaches are worse in the morning and if you have jaw pain along with them, see your dentist. He or she can fit you with a bite guard you wear at night to keep your teeth supported and keep you from grinding them.

3. You have pain on the outside of your cheeks.

Your teeth are meant to rest on each other. If they don't because you have an overbite or they're otherwise misaligned, the hinge of your jaw can experience extra pressure and pain. If you notice pain outside your cheeks in the area of this hinge, see your dentist. This too can be alleviated by a mouth guard that keeps your teeth resting comfortably. This can also protect your teeth from being eroded or damaged by extra pressure from the upper or lower jaw.

4. You have very bad breath.

Good oral hygiene can alleviate bad breath, but this too can be a sign that you have tooth decay, an impacted tooth that is allowing germs and bacteria to collect, or the onset of gum disease. You may also have diseased tonsils or another condition that is causing your bad breath and which a dentist such as Dr. John Michalopoulos can address easily.