How often you should see a dentist depends on the condition of your oral health. A common rule-of-thumb says you should see a dentist twice a year for cleaning and a checkup. No matter how well you care for your teeth and gums, it is important to see a dentist regularly
Regular Dental Exams Are Important
Most people don’t notice common dental problems until they become highly visible and/or painful. Many common dental problems don’t become visible or painful until they have reached an advanced stage. Regular dental exams will help your dentist to notice subtle changes in your teeth and gums from one visit to the next.
Early detection of developing dental problems means that you will have an opportunity to treat those problems before they become big problems. That means less cost and more peace of mind.
Dental Problems You Can’t See
Your dentist can often discover cavities and gum disease during a regular routine dental exam, long before you are even aware of the problem. Treatment of early-stage cavities and gum disease will prevent those conditions from developing into serious disease. Don’t wait until your teeth or gums hurt. See your dentist regularly and catch cavities and gum disease while it they are easily treatable.
Oral cancer is another disease that can often be detected by your dentist. Signs of oral cancer may appear anywhere in the mouth. Detecting subtle signs of oral cancer requires the trained eye of an experienced dentist performing a thorough dental exam. Again, early detection offers the greatest opportunity for successful treatment.
High-Risk Dental Patients
Seeing the dentist twice a year works fine for many people. However, certain people are at a higher risk of developing dental disease; and they should see the dentist more often. Higher risk patients include:
- Users of smokeless tobacco
- People with existing gum disease
- People with a history of developing cavities
- People who tend to accumulate higher levels of dental plaque
- People taking certain blood pressure or seizure medications
Scheduling Dental Appointments
Your dentist will tell you, based on the current condition of your dental health, when you should return for another exam. If your dental health is excellent, you may not need to return for another year. If your dental health is good, but not excellent, you may need to return in 6 to 9 months. If you have signs of developing cavities or gum disease, your dentist may want you to return sooner.