The general rule of thumb is once every six months, so twice a year. However, there are exceptions.
If you have gum disease or periodontal disease, you might need to see a dentist more regularly for constant monitoring and checkups. In these cases, you should be checking in with your dentist once every three months or so – or four times a year.
For most, though, it’s every six months.
Why Regular Dental Appointments Are So Important
If there’s nothing wrong with your teeth, why do you need to visit the dentist?
There are many benefits to having regular checkups with the dentist, even when your mouth is fine.
- Keep your teeth healthy and clean.
- Discover problems that don’t have obvious signs before they become major complications.
- Monitor the progress of your mouth after treatment.
- Monitor the progress of your mouth over time to keep track of changes and have a complete oral history for if something does go wrong.
For people with periodontal disease, it’s essential to get more frequent checks to prevent re-infection, or to prevent existing infections flaring up and causing major problems again. Periodontal disease can never be completely cured, only treated, and managed.
What Happens At A Regular Dental Check?
Nothing’s broken, nothing’s bleeding, so what’s a dentist going to do with you while you sit in the chair?
During a regular dental check, you’ll be given what’s commonly called a “check and clean.” This involves investigating the mouth for early signs of problems, as well as providing a thorough clean of your teeth.
Health checks include:
- Oral cancer screening. Oral cancers are very prevalent and can be quite devastating. Sophisticated diagnostic tools can be used to spot the early onset of oral cancer and begin treatment immediately. At Platinum Dental, we use a special light that picks up any cancerous cells before they are visible to the naked eye.
- Oral x-rays. These allow dentists to view under the gum to see how structures otherwise hidden are faring. This can inspect the bone, or the roots of teeth, for signs of disease or damage.
- Cavity check. In the good old days, the only way to check for cavities was to look. These days, special tools can be used to spot oral cavities that aren’t obvious to the naked eye, catching them before they become more significant problems.
- Inspect tooth and bone growth. In teenagers and people in their early 20s, oral checks can see how teeth are erupting and whether there might be complications. X-rays might reveal, for example, if it’s necessary to extract wisdom teeth.
Oral cleaning, also known as oral prophylaxis, usually covers the following in a regular check and clean:
- Removing plaque and tartar buildups.
- Providing a fluoride mouthwash to add a protective barrier to your teeth for a period of time.
Keeping gums clean and healthy.
Emergency Dental Visits
Some problems can’t wait for a regular check and clean, or even a regular dental appointment – they need to be seen now. These are emergency dental visits.
Problems which require an emergency dental visit include:
- A chipped or cracked tooth.
- A tooth knocked out. If you can salvage the tooth, it’s even possible to have the tooth placed back in the jaw. Time is of the essence, hence the need for emergency care.
- Severe pain. Teeth should never hurt! Severe pain needs to be seen as quickly as possible. It may mean you need a root canal or tooth extraction due to severe infection. People don’t realise that most infections don’t hurt until they’re quite advanced, which is why regular checks are essential to keep an eye out for early infection signs.