For parents and children: How often do you need to see a dentist?

Need to see dentist

We all know the importance of regular dental check-ups. 

But how often do you actually need to see a dentist? 

Keep reading till the end to find out!

How often should you visit the dentist?

It’s commonly believed that you should visit a dentist once every six months for a routine dental checkup and cleaning. 

But is that actually necessary? 

People with genuine dental problems or unique circumstances should definitely see a dentist regularly. But what about everyone else? Is it fine for them to go once a year or more?

When deciding how often to see your dentist, there are a few things to consider:

The age of the patient

For starters, children should definitely have a dental checkup once every 6 months or so. 

Permanent teeth are most vulnerable to decay soon after they erupt, so it’s vital for children to have their oral cavity examined frequently to check for signs of tooth decay. Sometimes, procedures like root end surgery are critical and time sensitive. You can learn more about the process of apicoectomy surgery here. 

Additionally, orthodontics is another important thing to consider in young children. Your dentist will want to keep track of your little one’s teeth to ensure they’re going properly. 

If braces, veneers, or other dental interventions are required to restore your child’s glowing smile, you’ll want to take those measures in time to prevent any unwanted problems with eating, speaking, or your little one’s self-esteem. 

Lastly, wisdom teeth usually appear during the late teens, so extra consultations may be required during that time period as well.

Your overall oral health

For a large number of us, routine cleanings are more than enough to keep our oral cavity in tip-top shape. 

In general, you should see a dentist at least once a year, but be sure to speak to them about your particular oral health situation to figure out a schedule that’s best for you. 

The aim is for your dentist to examine you frequently enough to be able to catch any major problems or issues as early as possible. 

Your overall body health

It’s no secret that dental checkups are crucial for maintaining your dental health. But what you may not realise is that oral cavity assessments can also help your doctor detect non-dental health issues like anemia and diabetes.

Symptoms of such health issues usually present first in the mouth. For instance, a loss of colour in your gums, tongue, or other surrounding areas may be a sign of anemia. 

Likewise, the presence of abnormal openings between teeth and gums, deep periodontal pockets, or loss of teeth may indicate the presence of diabetes.

It’s for this reason that frequent dentist appointments are crucial not only for your mouth but your overall health as well!

Your lifestyle

If you’re someone who smokes or drinks often, you might need to visit the dentist more frequently. 

Studies have shown alcohol abusers have up to a 3 times higher incidence of tooth loss compared to those who don’t drink. 

Tobacco use has also been commonly linked with several common mouth diseases such as oral cancer, gum problems, dental caries, and periodontal diseases.

Frequent visits mean easier dental cleanings

Another good reason to visit your dentist more frequently is that it’ll make oral cleanings much easier. 

Your teeth are always building up plaque, and if left for too long, this plaque will convert into tartar that’ll need to be scraped off. Unfortunately, tartar removal is something that requires special tools and is impossible to do on your own.

This is why regular dental check-ups can prevent unnecessarily long and uncomfortable scraping sessions. 

More frequent visits may also bring about better oral hygiene habits. If you know you’ll be paying a visit to the dentist in a few months, that may drive you to floss and brush more regularly, knowing someone is going to be assessing your oral cavity soon.

Cavities and gum diseases start developing long before symptoms occur

One of the biggest mistakes patients make is waiting for tooth or gum pain to set in to schedule a visit to the dentist. At this point, most of the destruction has already occurred. 

Tooth decay and gum diseases/inflammation begin long before you start experiencing symptoms and even those who take regular care of their oral health can get them due to poor flossing and brushing techniques.

So skipping appointments or waiting too long to fix your oral issues can lead to much more serious problems and may necessitate the need for procedures like a root canal down the line.

In ideal cases, a routine checkup would have let your dentist spot the problem in its early stages, and steps could’ve been taken to limit or reverse the damage and eliminate the need for undergoing far more complex procedures than simple cleanings.

The takeaway

While most people would be fine with seeing the dentist only once a year if their oral health is in good shape, we still recommend seeing the dentist every six months if possible. 

This is especially true if you’re at a greater risk of dental problems or have dental insurance that covers cleaning and an exam every 6 months.

Because even those who take good care of their oral cavity put themselves at an unnecessary risk for serious oral conditions without regular checkups.

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