We all receive reminders to visit our dentist. But many of us ignore these reminders or wait longer than we should to get back into their office for a checkup. In reality, you should visit your dental office twice yearly or more often, depending on your oral health. Below, we look more closely at how often you need dental checkups.
How often should you visit the dental office?
Twice yearly is a good rule for many people when it comes to how often you need a dental exam and cleaning. But you should actually schedule your visits according to your oral hygiene practices, lifestyle habits and health conditions. The best way to know how often you should visit your dental office is to ask this question at your next six-month checkup appointment.
Who needs more frequent dental visits?
Seeing your dental hygienist twice yearly is the minimum standard for good oral health. That works for most patients. But some do not need to visit so often, whereas others require a more intensive schedule. Those at high risk for dental disease or other problems need to see them every three months or maybe more often.
High-risk patients who need to see the dentist more often include:
- Pregnant women
- People with gum disease
- Patients with a weak immune system
- People often affected by cavities or plaque and tartar build-up
Your need to visit the dental office more frequently can change in your lifetime. If you experience a period of intense stress or illness, you should go in more often. This enables your dental professional to help you fight the problems that arise in periods of strain or poor health.
Why do I need a dental checkup?
Dental checkups help you take the best possible care of your teeth and gums, even when you practice a good home oral hygiene routine. Your dentist looks for problems you may not notice. Like gum disease and cavities, many of these issues do not cause discomfort until more advanced stages. With these problems caught early, your dental professionals can provide early intervention and save your smile. An early response can also keep you from experiencing oral pain. Besides finding problems early, your dental practitioner can help you prevent oral decay or disease from happening in the first place.
What happens during a dental visit?
Your health history plays a major role in each dental visit. Whenever your health status or medications change, you need to tell your practitioner. After reviewing your health history, your dental professionals provide an array of other services. These include:
- A thorough cleaning
- Complete dental exam
- Dental x-rays
- Advice regarding your home oral hygiene
Keeping Your Dental Visits to a Minimum
No one wants to spend extra time in a dental chair if that visit is not important. The best way to avoid going into the office more than you want is to maintain your best oral hygiene. Brush twice each day and floss daily, as well. When you go in for your next routine exam, your dental care professional will look for signs of cavities or gingivitis. If they do not see signs of problems, you can extend the time between visits.
Twice yearly is the best time frame between visits, for most people. At your next appointment, ask your dental practitioner what they think will work for future scheduling. Always follow the advice they provide. After all, you want to maintain your healthiest and most attractive smile throughout your lifetime.