Your dentist probably recommends that you have regular dental checkups, and wants you to come back at least every six months. This is because having dental visits on a regular basis is essential for maintaining the health of your teeth and gums. It’s also important between visits to continue good oral hygiene habits to ensure your teeth and gums stay clean and healthy. In some instances, the dentist may recommend that you have regular visits more frequently, but there’s a reason for that. Having regular checkups can be an essential part of preventing problems and any problems discovered early enough are easier to repair with less complications.
What Dentists will do at Regular Dental Checkups
When you visit a new dentist for the first time, they usually take a complete health history. After that, on follow-up visits they will perform routine tasks to ensure your good oral health. If there are any changes or deterioration of your teeth or gums they will address it. Routine exams will typically include:
- Performing Thorough Cleanings – either the dentist or an oral hygienist will clean your teeth by scraping below the gums to remove any tartar or plaque that has built up. This will help prevent gum disease, bad breath, cavities and other dental problems. After they are cleaned, the teeth will be polished and flossed.
- Performing a Complete Dental Exam – The dentist will thoroughly examine your mouth, teeth and gums to see if there are any signs of disease or any other problems that need to be addressed.
- Taking x-rays – Dentists use x-rays frequently in order to make diagnoses. They can also be used to inspect the jawbones, look for abscesses, detect decay between teeth, identify tumors or cysts and check for other signs of any dental problems.
Seeing your dentist on a regular basis for him to perform these preventative and diagnostic tests can help prevent problems from occurring in many cases.
Who Might Need More Frequent Dental Checkups
For most people, two checkups a year is adequate for preventing any dental conditions as long as they observe good oral hygiene in between visits. Some people can ever get by with fewer visits. For people who are at a low risk for developing cavities or gum diseases, once a year may be enough. However, individuals who are at a higher risk for diseases or problems, dentists might suggest more frequent visits at three or four month intervals. Those in the higher risk groups include:
- People who use tobacco products
- Women who are pregnant
- Individuals who have diabetes
- People who have already been diagnosed with gum disease
- Individuals who have a weakened immune system and can’t fight bacterial infections
- People whose teeth tend to build up plaque or gets cavities
Each person’s ideal checkup schedule is individual and can change a lot during their lifetime. Factors such as stress or illness might increase the need for seeing the dentist more often than others. Dentists can help patients fight off infections and treat any changes that occur in the mouth.