53892160 - people, medicine, stomatology and health care concept - happy female dentist with patient girl talking at dental clinic officeGood dental care is an important part of your overall health plan. Even when you brush and floss your teeth at home, regular dental checkups are still needed. One of the most common questions people have about maintaining good oral hygiene is this: How often should I see a dentist? Depending on the condition of your mouth, an annual visit may be enough. In some instances, seeing a dentist several times a year is needed. As a general rule of thumb, visiting a dentist twice a year is recommended for most people. A biannual exam is one of the surest ways of preventing disease or other serious medical conditions.

What If You Show No Signs of Problems

There’s a misconception that if you’re not experiencing any dental troubles then visiting a dental professional isn’t necessary. Although you don’t have pain, discomfort or visible symptoms, it doesn’t mean there aren’t any underlying health issues developing. In fact, there are medical conditions that don’t have obvious signs.

A regular six-month checkup makes it easier for dentists to detect a medical problem during its early stages. Your dental professional can spot problems early, diagnose conditions and offer the best treatment. A routine exam twice a year is a form of preventative dentistry. It has positive benefits because it helps keep treatment options simple and affordable since potential complications are caught in advance. Here are a few oral health issues often caught early with regular biannual dental visits:

  • Cavities
  • Tooth decay
  • Gum disease
  • Gingivitis
  • Oral cancer

For certain medical situations and diseases, the mouth is where the first signs of trouble appear. Routine visits with your dentist will identify any abnormalities in the advanced stages, which is critical to maintaining your health.

High Risk Groups

There are specific circumstances that make people susceptible to serious dental or other health issues. Stress or illness may cause flare-ups such as temporary infections or other mouth diseases. Additionally, there are people who are considered high-risk patients and benefit greatly from seeing a dentist at least twice a year. Seeing a dentist every six months or more is highly recommended for the following groups:

  • People who have excessive plaque buildup.
  • Individuals who are prone to cavities.
  • Women who are pregnant.
  • Individuals who are diabetic.
  • People who smoke.
  • Patients suffering from gum disease.
  • People with a weak immune system.

Everyone has unique healthcare needs based on their health status, oral hygiene and habits. Working with a dental professional regarding your overall health plan is essential for addressing your specific oral care needs.

What to Expect During Your Checkup

You can expect a full dental exam, a complete cleaning and even x-rays. With x-rays, a variety of issues is detected ranging from abscesses and tumors to impacted teeth and jawbone damage. During your office visit, the dentist or hygienist perform a series of procedures ensuring your mouth is as healthy as possible. Any signs of disease or other health problems are typically identified during these checkups. The routine visits also allow you to asks questions or share concerns about keeping your mouth healthy. Depending on the condition of your teeth, gums and mouth, there may be some variations in the procedures performed. But the standard checkup includes:

  • Checking teeth and gums
  • Flossing teeth
  • Scraping and cleaning tartar from teeth
  • Removing plaque
  • Polishing teeth
  • Applying fluoride

There are instances in which a cancer screening is conducted. The examination usually involves checking the tongue and whole mouth as well feeling the neck and jaw for any abnormalities.

Good oral hygiene requires more than regular flossing and brushing at home. You also need routine dental visits every six months. It’s preventive dentistry that will keep your smile beautiful and your mouth healthy.

Sources:

  1. http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/basics/dental-visits/article/how-often-should-you-go-to-the-dentist
  2. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/dental-care-concerns/questions-about-going-to-the-dentist
  3. http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/tc/basic-dental-care-routine-checkups