How often should I go to the dentist?
The standard recommendation is to visit your dentist twice a year for check-ups and cleanings. This frequency level works well for most people, although some people with gum disease, a genetic predisposition for plaque build-up or cavities, or a weakened immune system might need to visit the dentist more frequently for optimal care.
Also, keep in mind that certain life events — particularly those that cause stress or illness — might cause changes in the mouth or the development of an infection, and might make more frequent visits to the dentist necessary. At the other extreme, people who have taken great care of their teeth and gums, and have gone years without any problems whatsoever might choose to lengthen the time between visits. Ask your dentist what visitation schedule works best for your state of dental health.
The three biggest reasons that most strongly support the twice-yearly visitation schedule are:
What happens at the typical check-up appointment?
The following oral health care activities usually take place at the typical dental check-up visit:
If I am visiting a new dentist for the first time, what essential information do I need to share with the dentist?
Your new dentist will want to become familiar with your oral health so that he or she can notice changes or problems more easily during future visits. First, however, even before assessing your oral health, your dentist will want to know more about your general health. Areas that he or she will address with you include:
My dentist’s office called to inform me that my next appointment would be a comprehensive exam. What does this involve?
Comprehensive dental exams not only check for tooth decay and gum health but also examine your entire mouth, head, and neck area. This type of exam is generally given if you are a first-time patient to a new dentist, but should also be given periodically by any dentist you’ve been visiting for years. The comprehensive exam will likely include these evaluations: