How often should I see the dentist?
Seeing a dentist on a regular basis is vital to keep teeth in optimal working order and for general good health.
The traditional rule of thumb has been to visit the dentist every six months.
This is by no means a bad idea but the risk of problems developing with your teeth varies at different times of your life.
- When permanent teeth first come through, they are more vulnerable to decay so children six to eight years old need regular check ups.
- During the teenage years the teeth are less vulnerable but when the wisdom teeth come through in the early twenties, risks for problems with your teeth increase again.
- As you get older, gums shrink and having a clear, on-going assessment of your teeth and gums is a very good idea.
If you have a hygiene routine that involves brushing twice a day and regularly using dental floss means you can probably leave that visit to the dentist to once a year. People with a higher risk of dental disease like smokers or people with a particularly sweet tooth, will find it helpful to visit the dentist up to every three or four months.
Even if you aren’t experiencing any pain in your mouth, once a year is still a good idea because cavities don’t begin to hurt until they have become very large.
Most people who have had fillings put in didn’t realise the cavity was there until the dentist found them at a check up.
Gum disease also doesn’t tend to hurt either so by the time a tooth has come loose then there’s not so much a dentist can do to save it.
Oral cancer sometimes hurts and sometimes it doesn’t. If you haven’t seen a dentist in a long time then it’s an excellent idea to have a thorough examination and a set of dental x-rays taken just to make sure you haven’t got any problems that you haven’t noticed yet.