How often do you go to the dentist? Are you on a regular schedule or do you only go to the dentist if a problem arises? You may know that it is recommended that you see the dentist on a regular basis. But what constitutes a regular basis?
Regular dental appointments are often referred to as preventative dental care. The reason is that the purpose of regular cleanings and exams is to prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and other dental issues.
Here’s what dentists recommend for a preventative care schedule.
Go to the Dentist Every 6 Months
Dentists recommend that you have routine dental cleanings and oral exams every 6 months. This is the ideal time frame for keeping your teeth and mouth healthy. Every 6 months is the average schedule that works for most people. However, if you have specific dental issues that require additional maintenance, your dentist may recommend that you come in more often. If your teeth are particularly prone to decay, if you are prone to gingivitis, have chronic gum disease that keeps coming back, or extensive dental work that is difficult to clean and maintain at home, it may help to have more frequent dental hygiene visits.
What Does a Routine Dental Appointment Entail?
A preventative dental care appointment will typically involve all of the following:
- Oral exam. Your dentist will examine your mouth including the soft tissues like your tongue and the inside of your cheeks and lips to look for abnormalities, such as signs of oral cancer.
- Plaque removal. Your dental hygienist will use special tools to remove plaque from your teeth. If any plaque has hardened into calculus, that will also be removed.
- Flossing. Your dental hygienist will floss your teeth to remove plaque that may have settled between the teeth and below the gum line.
- Tooth polishing. Your dental hygienist will polish your teeth with toothpaste and a special tool that smooths the enamel.
- X-Rays (once a year). One of your appointments each year will typically include X-Rays, which are used to detect cavities and any issues with the roots of your teeth below the gum line.
Why Should You Go Every 6 Months?
Why is it so important to go to the dentist every 6 months for the above procedures?
- Prevent plaque from forming calculus. When plaque forms on the teeth but is not removed, it hardens and forms calculus, which is much more difficult to remove. Plaque and calculus that remain on the teeth can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
- Early cavity discovery. Cavities are a normal occurance for many patients. Even if you take good care of your teeth, sometimes a cavity will form. But if a cavity is found early, it can be easily filled. If a cavity is not taken care of it can lead to the need for more complex procedures, like a root canal.
- Early detection of oral cancer. Routine oral exams are the best way to detect oral cancer. And when oral cancer is found early, it can be treated with a very high survival rate. If you’re going to the dentist every 6 months, it is very likely that oral cancer will be detected if it is present.
- Dental insurance plans cover these appointments. Because routine exams and cleanings are recommended every 6 months, most dental insurance plans cover these appointments. Insurance will also typically cover X-Rays once per year.
Come See Us at Nowak Family Dental Twice a Year
Now that you know the benefits of staying on a regular schedule with dental appointments, make an appointment at Nowak Family Dental. We provide dental care for patients of all ages, so your whole family can come to one convenient location. We are in-network with most Delta Dental and Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance plans and we accept all open network plans.