How often do you visit your dentist? The right answer depends on the specific dental concerns you have. If it’s been a long time since you last scheduled a dental appointment, it is most likely time to pick up the phone and schedule one. How frequently you should visit your dentist depends on what state your teeth and gums are in and what medical conditions you have.
Preventing a problem from occurring is often a lot easier than correcting an issue once it develops. For decades, the typical recommendation for dental visits has been to see your dentist twice a year for an examination and teeth cleaning. Seeing your dentist twice a year, usually every six months, allows him to spot any issues, such as developing cavities or the earliest state of gum disease, and correct those issues before they become a big problem.
In the earliest stages, cavities and gingivitis might not cause symptoms or might cause symptoms that are so mild that you don’t notice them. But a dentist can detect early signs of cavities or other concerns and work to reverse them. Problems are easier to fix in the earlier stages than later on, when they might require more complicated treatments, including, in some cases, surgery.
Where did the recommendation to see your dentist twice a year come from? Interestingly enough, the twice-a-year recommendation might have actually come from ads for Pepsodent toothpaste several decades ago. At that point in time, people might have been brushing their teeth regularly, but they weren’t in the habit of getting their teeth cleaned by a dentist. The result was that people’s teeth were in pretty bad shape years ago, before the advice to schedule twice a year dental exams came along.
Visit Your Dentist More Frequently If. . .
The recommendation to see a dentist twice yearly is just that, a recommendation. For optimal dental health, some people might actually need to see their dentist more often.
Pregnant women, for example, are often advised to schedule more frequent dental visits. Even if you have healthy teeth and gums when you aren’t pregnant and brush twice a day and floss daily, hormonal fluctuations that occur during pregnancy put you at a higher risk for gum disease. Your dentist will evaluate your gums and perform a deep cleaning to help reverse any symptoms of gingivitis.
People who smoke should also see their dentists on a more frequent basis. Smoking dramatically increases your risk for developing gum disease and other oral problems, including cancer. During a dental appointment, your dentist will not only deep clean the teeth and gums and perform additional treatments to resolve or improve gum disease, he can also offer guidance and advice on quitting smoking.
If you have certain medical conditions, such heart disease, diabetes or HIV, you might need to see your dentist more often than twice a year. Heart disease and diabetes put you at an increased risk for gum disease and complications related to gum disease while HIV limits your body’s ability to fight infection, including the bacteria that cause gum disease. The medication prescribed to control HIV can also often increase your risk for developing cavities.
When Should Kids Visit Their Dentist?
Generally speaking, kids should see their dentist for checkups and cleaning twice a year. When should you schedule your child’s first dental visit? Usually, it’s a good idea to bring your child to the dentist when his or her first tooth comes in. At the latest, your child should visit the dentist by his or her first birthday.
Some kids might need to visit the dentist more frequently, such as kids with a lot of cavities or children who need braces or other dental treatments. When you visit your dentist, he will give you an idea of how often your child should come in.
Emergency Dental Visits
In some cases, you might need to make an unplanned or emergency dental visit. If you have severe pain in a tooth or in your gums, get to the dentist’s right away, even if your next planned visit isn’t for a few months. Some issues, such as dental abscesses and severe cavities, need to be treated right away. If your tooth suddenly becomes very sensitive, if you lose a filling or if your tooth cracks or breaks, you should visit your dentist immediately.
In Miami, Florida, Dr. John Paul Gallardo and Dr. William Lamas offer a variety of dental treatments to help keep your teeth and gums in the best shape possible. From preventative teeth cleanings to treatments for periodontal disease, the periodontists can help keep your mouth healthy. They also offer oral surgery at their practice, including wisdom teeth removal, performed by Dr. Juan C. Arroyo. Dr. Arroyo has more than 15 years experience as an oral surgeon.
Whether you’re overdue for a dental exam and cleaning or have a more pressing oral care concern, call 305-547-8687 to schedule a dental visit with Dr. Gallardo and Dr. Lamas today.