We get it: going to the dentist is a pain. You have to take time off work to get your teeth cleaned and your gums poked, and to sit in a chair with your mouth open while someone works over it with tools that are metal or sound like a power drill. Many people dislike going to the dentist. If you’re one of them, you’ve probably asked yourself “How often do I really need to go to the dentist?”
So, how often should you see a dentist?
It depends on a variety of factors, including oral hygiene habits, health, conditions like pregnancy, or even genetic factors.
It’s likely that you’ve heard that you should have a dental checkup every six months. While this is a good recommendation for average, healthy people, it’s just a starting point. According to an article reviewed by the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, health and dental organizations set the standard twice-yearly visit schedule as a “best guess” for preventing and catching tooth decay and gum disease.
Tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease are all preventable conditions with good oral hygiene and regular dental checkups. If as a healthy person with no extenuating conditions you have a dental checkup every six months, your dentist will be able to diagnose and address any emerging gum or tooth issues before they become a large or systemic problem. Your dentist may also be able to identify other health conditions that present with oral symptoms, like diabetes and certain cancers.
However, people with certain conditions or risk factors may need to see a dentist more often than twice per year. These factors include
- Autoimmune disorders
- Weakened immune system due to bacterial infection
- Gum disease
- Persistent tooth or mouth pain
- TMJ disorders
- Greater than normal propensity to build up plaque
These conditions can put you at greater risk for oral infections, gingivitis, cavities, and gum disease, and your dentist will want to monitor your oral health more closely than the twice-yearly recommendation allows.
Additionally, even if you have been to the dentist in the last six months, if you experience an emergent dental issue like a broken tooth or troublesome conditions like persistent bad breath, you should make an appointment with your dentist. Check out Six Signs it Might be Time to See Your Dentist for a few issues you shouldn’t put off until your next semiannual checkup.
Has it been more than six months since you saw a dentist? Schedule an appointment with Weber, Mountford & Ruszkowski Family Dentistry.