How Often Should I Have a Dental Exam and Cleaning?
Because everyone’s teeth are different, the frequency of dental visits will vary between patients. While the American Dental Association recommends people with healthy teeth schedule an appointment every six months, a dentist may recommend you visit more often based on your oral health history and other factors.
When Should I Schedule a Dentist Appointment?
Everyone knows to visit the dentist at least twice a year, but other symptoms may arise in between visits. Make an extra appointment with your dentist if you have any of the following issues:
- Teeth sensitivity to hot or cold
- Frequently bleeding gums
- Painful swelling in your mouth or on your gums or neck
- Difficulty swallowing or chewing
- You smoke or use other tobacco products
- You have diabetes, gum disease or a weak immune system
- You are pregnant
Following your dental exam and cleaning, your dentist will suggest when you should schedule your next appointment.
What Can I Expect at a Dental Exam and Cleaning?
Your dental exam will typically begin with a dental hygienist cleaning your teeth to remove any plaque or stains that have accumulated since your last visit. Even the healthiest teeth need a good professional cleaning to maintain good oral hygiene. The dental hygienist will also floss your teeth and give you fluoride if needed. Some patients may need x-rays taken, as well. After the cleaning, the dentist will stop by to check your teeth and determine if any further actions are needed.
MORE: How to Brush Your Teeth
Dental exams are important to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Dental exams not only clean your teeth, but are used to spot any oral health problems. Other benefits of dental exams and cleanings include:
- Saving money in the long run – prevention is cheaper than the cost of repairing damage
- Gum disease detection and prevention
- Studies have shown that patients who regularly have their teeth professionally cleaned and examined have a lower risk of stroke or heart attack
What Happens If I Don’t Go to the Dentist?
Some people go years without a dental visit. When that happens, plaque buildup is very extreme and will lead to painful cavities. Leaving cavities untreated will cause future oral health problems like root canals or tooth extraction. Gum disease also develops when plaque is left on teeth for long periods of time. When you don’t visit the dentist for a long period of time, the next dental visit will be longer because there is more to clean and examine.
Even if your teeth are in great condition, it’s important to visit the dentist to care for your smile. Spotting dental problems early is crucial to preventing them from developing even further. Duffield Dentistry offers a variety of dental services, including general, cosmetic and restorative dentistry. Contact Dr. Larry Duffield at 877-630-7410 to schedule an appointment today.