Around 32% of people say they’re concerned by the look of their teeth, but too many people are forgoing their regular dental visits due to cost, fear, or other priorities. Some people might not even know how often they should be making an appointment with their family dentist. If you can’t remember when you had your last dental exam, that’s a sign it’s been too long. However, this post provides some more specific guidelines to follow when it comes to getting your teeth the professional help they need.
In general, twice a year is a good starting point.
There’s no perfect recommendation that is appropriate for every single patient. But making a dental exam appointment for every six months is usually a smart estimate. Even if you think you brush and floss thoroughly at home, you’ll still need to keep your bi-annual appointment to get your teeth professionally cleaned and checked to make sure everything is on track. Some patients feel that once per year is sufficient; your dentist may agree if they have no concerns or you have worries about cost. But for children, teens, and the elderly, it’s usually best to stick to the every-six-months schedule.
You can help your children form good habits early.
Experts recommend that children have their first dental exam six months after their first tooth appears or by the time they turn one year old. Not only can this teach them about the importance of maintaining a clean, healthy smile, but it will also remove the fear component from the process. Because parents are more likely to give their young children juice and sodas, rather than water, these early dental visits are vital for preventing tooth and gum disease. Make sure you schedule and keep their bi-annual appointments, too.
Special cases may require more frequent visits.
For most healthy adults and children, going to the dentist every six months is appropriate. But in certain circumstances, you may need to make more frequent appointments. If you’ve had recent changes to your dental health (including pain), you should not wait until your bi-annual appointment to speak to your dentist. You may also need to schedule additional visits if you’ve undergone recent procedures (like wisdom tooth removal or dental implantation) or require a crown, braces, or cavity fillings. Finally, if you are a smoker, are pregnant, or have cancer, you may be considered to be in a higher risk category. Be sure to talk to your dentist about their recommendations.
For many people, going to the dentist is never going to be a fun-filled activity. But it’s really the best preventative step you can take to ensure your smile stays beautiful and healthy throughout your life. By keeping your bi-monthly appointments (or maintaining another schedule recommended by your dentist), you’ll be making an investment in your body that will benefit you for many years to come.