How often do you go to the dentist? Are you on a regular schedule or do you only go when you have a dental issue? Some people wait until they have a toothache or cracked tooth before they make a dental appointment. Others go for routine appointments according to their dentist’s recommendations.
How often should you go to the dentist? Here’s what experts recommend.
You Should Visit the Dentist Every 6 Months or Twice a Year
Dentists recommend that patients have routine dental appointments every 6 months. These appointments are for preventive dental care which typically includes teeth cleanings and examinations. This schedule is recommended by dental experts because studies have shown that this time frame is ideal to prevent cavities and other problems for the average patient. Most dental insurance plans cover appointments according to the recommended 6 month schedule.
Why So Often?
You may be wondering why it is necessary to go to the dentist so often. There are a few important reasons:
- Keep Teeth Clean. Teeth cleanings remove tartar and plaque from your teeth. Even with regular brushing and flossing, plaque is likely to form on teeth within a 6 month period of time. Plaque and tartar buildup on teeth is what eventually leads to cavities.
- Cavity Prevention and Detection. Removing plaque from teeth helps to prevent cavities. However, even with regular cleanings, cavities can develop. If they are discovered early they can be easily filled, preventing the need for more in-depth procedures.
- Oral Cancer Screening. Routine dental appointments now include an oral cancer screening. Your dentist will examine the inside of your mouth, cheeks, and tongue as well as your neck for any signs of cancerous growths.
- X-Rays. If you go to the dentist twice a year, one of those appointments should include X-Rays. These images show if there are any cavities in the teeth that aren’t immediately visible. X-Rays also identify any issues that may exist below the gum line.
When Should You Go to the Dentist More Often?
Dentists may recommend that some patients visit the dentist more often than the usual 6 month schedule. If you have frequent cavities and other dental problems, it could be that your teeth are more susceptible to decay than the average patient. You could benefit from more frequent cleanings and examinations, such as quarterly appointments. Your dental insurance may not cover these additional appointments, however, you may be able to set up a payment plan to make them more affordable.
If you have a cavity that needs to be filled or another dental issue that requires an additional procedure, you may need to schedule extra appointments in between your routine cleanings. Root canals, crowns, dental implants, and other procedures often require multiple appointments.
Does the Same Schedule Apply to All Ages?
Yes, from a child’s first dental appointment through the rest of their life, they should go to the dentist every 6 months. No matter your age, it is still important to keep up with routine appointments. As you age your teeth become more susceptible to decay because of a lifetime of use and the natural weakening of bone material that occurs. People of all ages need routine preventative dental care.
How to Care for Your Teeth Between Appointments
If you want the best possible dental health, it is also important to take care of your teeth between dental visits. You should be sure to brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once a day. Using an electric toothbrush can help to remove more plaque buildup from your teeth. If you take good care of your teeth between appointments, your dental hygienist won’t have to spend as much time on plaque removal. You can be in and out faster and have less chance of cavities.
Dr. Jamrozek Wants to See You Twice a Year
Dr. Jamrozek at Cosmetic Family Dentistry of West Milford would like to see you for preventive dental care at least every 6 months. These routine appointments are one of the most important parts of your dental care. Following your dentist’s recommended routine for cleanings and taking care of your teeth at home can help you prevent cavities and have healthier teeth for a lifetime.