How Often Should I Go To The Dentist?

Child with Dental CareIt used to be that dentists focused on fixing dental problems instead of on preventing them. Trips to the dentist were signaled when a tooth hurt, or something was obviously wrong. This seemed to be backwards; it meant always playing “catch up” and never staying ahead of the dental needs of patients.

Preventative Dentistry

Dental and health organizations began setting standards for what is known as “preventative dentistry” suggesting that seeing a dentist twice a year was adequate to stay ahead of any developing issues. They determined that even if patients took excellent care of their teeth (and gums!) on their own, seeing a dentist twice a year for a professional cleaning and checkup would ensure that the slightest suggestion of a problem could be resolved early on instead of letting it develop into something major over time. Issues such as oral cancer could be detected, too, with this kind of schedule.

Visits Vary For Each Patient

Not everyone may need twice yearly visits, but you definitely want to see your dentist at least once a year and, if directed, begin a twice-a-year schedule.

In fact, some patients may need to visit the dentist more than twice a year if they are smokers, have diabetes, have gum disease, a propensity for cavities and plaque build-up, or a weakened immune system that might not fight off a bacterial infection well. As you get older, you may require more frequent dental visits as well, or when you are experiencing other illness that require treatment and medication that affect your dental health.

Saving Money By Skipping?

Many people think that by skipping dental visits, they’ll save themselves some money. In the short run, it might seem that way. However, the problems that develop when left unchecked quickly become expensive and damaging to repair.

As always, speak with your dentist to determine the best schedule for you. He or she knows your dental health best, and will make a recommendation that works for both of you.