Seeing your dentist for regular checkups is undoubtedly an important part of your oral care. And yet, 100 million Americans skip their dental visits every year.
Dental checkups give your oral healthcare professional a chance to evaluate your teeth and gums for any issues. Since the majority of oral health problems are preventable, visiting the dentist can help you stay proactive about preventing these problems and keep your smile healthy for life.
But how often should you see your dentist in Asheville for a dental checkup? Although every six months has been the standard rule, and the one recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA), the ADA has changed their guidelines.
Here’s how often you need to be making those regular dental visits to get your smile evaluated and your teeth cleaned for optimal oral health.
Every Patient Is Different and Needs to See the Dentist at Different Intervals
Each patient has unique oral health needs. For example, some people are more prone to gum disease while others may be more at risk for tooth decay or oral cancer. Knowing your family history can help you and your dentist come up with an oral care plan to maintain your smile based on your risk.
The average person should see their dentist every six months. However, that being said, this interval isn’t the right choice for everyone. If you have oral health problems or a high risk for oral disease, your dentist may want you to come in more often to ensure your smile is healthy.
People who may need to see their dentist more often include:
- Expecting mothers, since pregnancy can cause gingivitis
- Those with a family history of oral health issues
- People who smoke or frequently drink alcohol, both of which increase your risk for cavities, gum disease, and oral cancer
- Those with a compromised immune system
- People who have diabetes
- Those with existing oral health conditions, such as gum disease
- Children who are growing and shedding their baby teeth
People who live with diabetes or conditions such as HIV where the immune system is compromised are more at risk for dry mouth and oral infections such as oral thrush, so visiting the dentist more often can be helpful in preventing cavities and gum disease.
Your dentist can work with you to determine how often you should come in based on your unique oral health and your risk profile for oral disease.
How to Reduce Your Dental Visits
Keeping your teeth and gums healthy through daily brushing and flossing is the best way to reduce the number of times you need to visit the dentist every year.
Although regular checkups and cleanings are still important, you may not need to go in for an appointment as often if your smile is consistently healthy. Having healthy teeth and gums also means you won’t have to pay as much for your oral care, as most dental insurance plans cover preventative care, such as teeth cleanings and exams.
Remember that just because you may not be having any symptoms doesn’t mean that your teeth and gums are healthy and that you can skip the dentist year after year. Staying proactive about your oral health is always better than having to fix your smile later on.
At the absolute minimum, if you have a healthy smile and your dentist agrees, you can do dental visits once a year. Your dentist will let you know if you need to come in more often based on your oral health.
Why Do You Need to See the Dentist in the First Place?
If you clean your teeth every day with brushing and flossing, you may feel that you don’t need to see the dentist unless you have a problem with your smile.
However, remember that the most common oral health problems don’t typically have symptoms until they have progressed significantly. This means you could have a developing cavity for months or even years before you experience tooth sensitivity or a toothache. At this point, the cavity may have gotten so large that your tooth may be compromised.
Gum disease is another oral health condition that may not show many symptoms until the condition has progressed. Gum disease is one oral health problem that becomes harder to treat the more advanced the condition is, and can cause tooth loss if untreated.
Fortunately, your dentist can identify these problems before they have a chance to compromise your smile and require more extensive treatment.
Your dentist is also the professional who screens you for oral cancer, and these oral healthcare professionals are often the first people to come into contact with oral cancer. By seeing your dentist regularly, you can get an earlier diagnosis for a potentially more successful treatment if your dentist suspects oral cancer is present.
Going to the dentist to maintain your smile doesn’t just keep your smile healthy and beautiful—it can also save you money from needing a significant amount of dental work in the long run. Research shows that people who visit the dentist regularly—even when they aren’t experiencing any problems—have fewer missing teeth than those who don’t.
Dentists are also some of the first professionals to identify problems with a patient that they may not know they have, such as sleep apnea, diabetes, and even acid reflux disease, all of which can impact your oral health as well as your bodily health.
We Make Scheduling Your Dental Visits Easy
Remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to oral health. While you may need to visit the dentist every three to six months, someone else may only need visits once a year. However, no matter how healthy your smile is, never put off visits for longer than a year, and always follow your dentist’s recommendations for checkup intervals.
At Saunders DDS, we make scheduling your dental visits easy. In fact, you can even request a specific appointment day and time online. Contact us to book your next exam and checkup today—we see both adults and children in the Asheville area.