Mixed race little patient showing her perfect toothy smile while sitting dentists chair

Did you ever wonder how many times a year you should visit the dentist?  Common knowledge is that twice a year is the standard.  There have been many studies into this very question, and although there were not any meaningful conclusions from these tests, dentists continue to suggest twice a year dental visits.  Most dental professionals consider twice a year to be the safest amount of time in which to detect any oral health issues at an early stage.  Prevention would be key in this case, which is why twice a year is still recommended.  However, in the modern world, times seem to be changing.  Now, a lot of dentists make recommendations based on individual needs.  Certain dentists may tell patients who are on the healthier side that once a year is fine.  The bottom line is that you should at least be going for dental check-ups once a year as an absolute minimum.  But, you may need to go more frequently if your dentist suggests it.   Read further as we discuss why regular dental visits are still important, and the evidence that supports this theory.  

What Does the Evidence Say?

As mentioned above, there have been studies conducted about the ideal frequency of your dental check-ups.  The American Dental Association now says that there is no ideal frequency for everyone, it is not a one-size-fits-all suggestion.  The goal is for every dental patient to stay on top of oral health issues so they can ward off mouth problems.  Oral health issues include tooth decay or cavities,  and periodontitis or gum disease.  Both of these issues can cause discomfort, pain, and even tooth loss.  Seeing a dentist for regular visits can stop these issues, but you need to get into the dentist chair at least once a year.  Some modern dentists are ok with a patient who only visits once a year.  They understand that life is busy and squeezing in a dentist appointment may be tricky.  As long as the dental patient has good oral hygiene habits it is more than fine to see your dentist once a year.  Visiting the dentist twice a year is approaching your dental health more on the safe side so that any minor changes can be detected.  Now, it is suggested that every six months should be required for more complex needs, while once a year is fine for dental patients in excellent health.  

Why Regular Dental Exams Are Important

Annual or bi-annual dental exams are still very important, no matter what your individual needs may be.  Your dental check-ups give the dentist a chance to scan your mouth for imminent oral health problems, such as tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer.  Here, if your dentist detects a problem, they can discuss treatment options.  As a dental patient, you can lower the risk of dental problems by maintaining good oral hygiene habits like twice-daily brushing and flossing.  However, at a dentist visit, you will receive a professional tooth cleaning and scaling, which removes any plaque that has formed on your teeth.  Only a dentist has the right equipment to remove hardened plaque, and it does need to be removed or it can turn into tooth decay or gum disease.  Based on your dental exam, your dentist can give you further advice as to when you need your next appointment. 

Should You Get An X-Ray At My Regular Dental Exam

Sometimes getting an x-ray is part of your regular dental check-up.  An x-ray can help your dentist see the areas between your teeth and below your gum line.  X-rays are a helpful diagnostic tool that can help see problems not visible to the naked eye.  Dentists only take x-rays if they feel it is necessary.  The dose of radiation is very low from a dental x-ray, but if you are pregnant or a young child you may need to skip it.  


Dental Anxiety

Perhaps the idea of going to the dentist fills you with anxiety.  But, there are so many ways to make it less intimidating.  You will need to discuss with your dentist all of your fears, and ask if there is anything they can do to help.  Options may include being able to listen to soothing music, using nitrous gas (or laughing gas) to help keep you relaxed during the appointment.  And, if you continue to see the dentist for regular visits, you may find that you get better at managing your nerves as you become more comfortable with the overall experience.  

Comments are closed.