How often should you go to the dentist?
Maintaining a healthy mouth and beautiful smile are important and require proper oral care. Many people think of brushing and flossing when they think about oral care, but a complete oral care routine also includes regular dental exams and cleanings. Visiting your dentist's office regularly is an important part of keeping your teeth healthy.
When to Schedule a Dental Visit
A good rule of thumb is to visit your dentist's office every six months for professional cleanings and dental exams. Finding a dental office that you are comfortable with is an important first step in setting up regular dental visits. If you are uncomfortable at the dentist's office, you will be less likely to visit as often as you should. So take some time to find an office that you like and feel comfortable with.
Regular dental visits are important; regardless of whether you always brush your teeth twice a day, a professional cleaning twice a year can help keep your teeth healthy and prevent many dental diseases. However, everyone is different, so some teeth need more or less frequent dental care than others. While a professional cleaning every six months is the standard recommendation, it’s important to talk to your dentist about your specific treatment needs. They can help you determine how often you should schedule dental visits for yourself and your family. The recommended frequency of visits can change throughout your life depending on a number of factors, including overall health, medical problems, and pregnancy. Always seek advice from your dentist if you are unsure how often you should receive dental care.
The Importance of Routine Dental Exams
Regular dental exams are important because they give your dentist the opportunity to look for signs of oral care problems, things like cavities and gum disease. Visiting your dentist's office regularly increases the chances of discovering symptoms early on, while they are easier to treat. Dealing with oral problems quickly while they are still minimal helps prevent them from becoming more serious problems later on. Regular dental exams also set a good example for your children; seeing you take care of your teeth helps them learn the importance of routine exams for their overall dental health throughout life.
What to Expect During a Regular Dental Appointment
Your first visit to a dentist's office will include a full health history, while follow up visits may include a shorter health form. If your health status changes, be sure to update your health history information during your next dental visit. Most regular dental visits include the following:
- Cleaning – A dental hygienist will thoroughly clean your teeth to remove plague and tartar that you can’t reach with a toothbrush and floss. They will scrape below and along the gum line to remove any plague and tartar that has built up, which can cause cavities, gum disease, bad breath, or other problems. After scraping off your teeth, they will polish and floss them. Fluoride and other treatments may also be provided as needed.
- Examination – A full examination will be performed to check your mouth, teeth, and gums for any signs of oral diseases or other problems.
- X-rays – Getting x-rays taken can reveal problems that would otherwise remain hidden, including impacted teeth, damage to jawbones, abscesses, decay between the teeth, and tumors or cysts.
Additional Dental Care
Sometimes you may need to visit your dentist's office in addition to your regular visits. If you notice any symptoms or pain that suddenly appear, then schedule an appointment with your dentist's office right away to determine the cause of the problem. Tooth sensitivity, swelling in the face, and pain when chewing are a few reasons you might need to go in for an additional dental visit. Also, if you or a family member are diagnosed with a health issue or disease, then it’s important to schedule a dental visit to discuss the ways your diagnosis could affect your dental health and if there are any changes you need to make to your current oral care routine.
Seeking Additional Dental Care for Children
It can be difficult to determine when children are experiencing symptoms that are cause for concern. Younger children in particular may have a hard time vocalizing when something in their mouth is bothering them. Regularly checking your child’s teeth and mouth for signs of trauma can help you discover any problems and seek help in a timely manner.
When to Schedule Your Child’s First Dental Visit
Beginning routine dental visits early helps your child get used to the exam process and develop good habits for proper oral care throughout life. Scheduling an initial appointment within six months of your child’s first tooth appearing is recommended by the American Dental Association. Starting regular checkups at a young age helps prevent problems with gum disease and tooth decay, as well as helping your child get used to the dental tools and sitting in the dental chair. Some children find these things scary, so helping them become comfortable at a young age will make dental visits less stressful. Talking about what to expect during the exam can help children become more comfortable with dental visits more quickly.
Regular dental visits are an essential part of keeping your teeth and mouth healthy. Even if you haven’t ever had a cavity, visiting your dentist's office regularly is important to help prevent future oral care problems. Routine dental cleanings help keep your and your family’s teeth healthy, and establish the foundation for a healthy oral care routine for your children.
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