How Often Should I See My Dentist?
Most dental insurance policies cover a routine dental checkup every six months (or twice per year, depending on how it’s worded.) But when it comes to how often you really need to see your dentist, are there other factors to consider?
For Preventative Care
Individuals with healthy teeth and gums will generally only need to see their dentist every six months for a prophylaxis (preventative care) appointment. These visits generally consist of:
• Appropriate X-rays
• Oral cancer screening
• Periodontal evaluation
• Orthodontic assessment
…as well as a consultation to answer any current questions or concerns that you may have about your teeth. Should any type of treatment be needed, you’ll schedule the procedure at that time.
Unless you tend to develop heavy stain and tartar between appointments, a biannual cleaning is typically appropriate. Some patients prefer to be seen as frequently as three or four times a year to have superficial stain and deposits cleaned away for aesthetic purposes, even if it’s not covered by their insurance policy.
If You’ve Had Periodontal (Gum) Disease
Gum disease causes permanent bone and soft tissue loss around the teeth, making them more challenging to brush, floss, and maintain. To prevent relapse of disease, most gum periodontal patients need to see their dentist every 3-4 months for maintenance appointments.
Unlike preventative cleanings, these visits are meant to control infection and prevent it from spreading, rather than avoid the onset altogether. Depending on how your body responds and if any adjunctive procedures (such as bone or gum grafting) have been completed, your scheduled maintenance visits can be spread out appropriately.
Denture Care and Maintenance
Even if you no longer have natural teeth that you’re caring for, you should still see your dentist routinely (at least once per year) to check for soft tissue diseases like oral cancer or to monitor the fit of your dentures.
As time goes by, removable prosthetics can start to wear down or fit loosely because of changes in your natural oral anatomy. Having the denture relined or adjusted can ensure that it fits comfortably throughout the day.
When You’re in Pain
It’s important that issues like toothaches be attended to at your earliest convenience. Most types of dental infections will not resolve themselves on their own. Seeing your dentist sooner can eliminate unnecessary pain and provide an opportunity for more conservative (and affordable) treatment options.
Has it Been Years Since You Saw a Dentist Last?
Perhaps time has gotten away from you and it’s been years — or even decades — since you last visited a dentist. It’s common to feel a little nervous or even embarrassed about what may possibly be discovered during your next exam. That’s ok. Dentists who train with the Kois Center often work with complex full mouth rehabilitation and cosmetic cases and are committed to a personalized, private approach to your dental care. Find a provider near you to get started!