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How Frequently Should You Visit a Dentist?

Updated: Jan 18

A dentist visit is important for your oral and overall health. But how often should you see the dentist? Although most dentists recommend two visits per year, this is not a standard practice. Two visits are usually covered by dental insurance. For some, twice a year may not be enough. We'll discuss several factors that affect how often you need to schedule your dental care in Ellicott City.

a dentist examining a woman's teeth

Why do we need them?

As soon as you're seated in the chair, we'll ask you the same question that any dentist would: Are you experiencing any pain? If you answered no, great! But you should not wait until you feel the pain to visit the dentist. If you feel pain in your mouth or have a damaged tooth, you should make an appointment. You shouldn't rely on pain to determine how often you need to visit the dentist. Plaque buildup can happen even if you floss regularly. Plaque can harden into tartar, which can lead to gum disease and cavities. You can have your teeth cleaned by your dentist or dental hygienist to remove tartar from your teeth.

Potential problems that you might not have seen yet can be identified by dentists. Some dental problems can be treated early, but it is not always possible to relieve pain immediately. You may also notice signs of diabetes, anemia, or oral cancer in your mouth.

The Cancer Society says that routine dental exams can detect oral cancers and pre-cancers early. If there are any medical signs or symptoms in your mouth, your dentist can refer you to a specialist who will further examine the situation.

What to expect at a dental checkup

You may be wondering how the process works, regardless of whether it has been a while since your last visit or if you haven't seen your dentist in a while. If you're looking for a refresher, here are some things to remember. Your general health and any problems that you have with your teeth are the first things most dental sessions will ask. Your dental hygienist or dentist may ask you about your diet, teeth-cleaning habits, and whether or not you smoke or drink alcohol. They will also record your medical history and, sometimes, can measure your blood pressure or heart rate.

Sometimes, x-rays may be required to take a look at your teeth and mouth. X-rays enable your dentist to view the areas between and below your teeth. X-ray photos can help diagnose problems that a dentist cannot see. These include bone loss, cavities between teeth, impacted wisdom, abscesses, and bone changes related to certain diseases. The radiation doses from dental radiographs are very low, and they're not required often. Your dentist may be able to delay the examination if you are pregnant, particularly if it is the first trimester.

Your dentist should examine your mouth, teeth, tongue, throat, tongue, and gums. They may also check for swelling of the lymph nodes or examine your lower jaw joints. How often you visit the dentist will depend on how healthy your mouth is.

How often do you need a dental checkup?

Many factors affect the time between checkups. Some say it can be as little as three months, while others may take up to a year. Some people may only require a single visit per year while others will need frequent visits. The frequency you visit the dentist depends on your current dental health, risk of developing dental problems in the future, changes in dental health, and your age. This is not for any other purpose than checking your teeth.

If you notice any issues with your teeth, don't wait for your next appointment.

· Gum or tooth pain

· Chipped teeth

· Temperature Sensitivity

· Fillings lost

· Bleeding or swollen gums

· Not healing mouth sores

· Daily dry mouth

· Jaw pain

Talk to your dentist if you have no dental problems and maintain a good brushing and flossing regimen. Your dentist might agree that it is safe to extend the time between visits so that you only have a checkup once a year, or less often.

People at higher risk of developing the dental disease may require more frequent checkups than the recommended two-yearly recommendation. A visit every three to four months may be better for these patients.

For example, pregnant women should visit the dentist more frequently. The Pregnancy Association states that increased hormone levels can cause gum swelling, bleeding, and food trapping. Preventative dental care during pregnancy is essential to avoid gum disease and other complications that can lead to premature births. To lower the risk of infection, you should have cavities filled and crowns done during the second trimester. This is before it becomes difficult to lay on your back for extended periods. After giving birth, avoid cosmetic procedures such as teeth whitening.

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