Everyone should get regular dental checkups, but what exactly does “regular” mean? Well, that depends upon the general health of your teeth and gums as well as lifestyle behaviors that can affect your teeth and gums.
In most cases, “regular checkups” means going to the dentist twice a year for x-rays if needed, a professional cleaning by a dental hygienist, an initial exam by the hygienist, a review of medication or lifestyle changes that might adversely affect your teeth or gums, and a review and follow-up exam by the dentist in order to develop a course of treatment if one is required.
Some people, however, have fantastic teeth and gums with no gingival disease and only the rare cavity. For those folks, the dentist might agree that a visit once a year is enough. On the other hand, if a patient has a genetic predisposition for weak teeth or perhaps takes medication that results in a weak immune system, the dentist and patient might agree that more visits than two per year are required.
Interestingly, most patients think that the main reason for the “regular” visits is to keep their teeth clean. While the cleaning is a very important part of the checkup, the most important aspect of having regular dental checkups is for a skilled dentist, such as those at Bedford Dental Group, to be able to compare your current condition with your past condition. This allows him or her to catch any problems early, and the earlier a dental problem is detected, the easier it is to reduce or correct it.
Think about a tiny cavity. If it is caught early, a small filling can be enough to put it to right. However, if it’s left to grow and the decay in the tooth gets bad enough, a root canal or even an extraction might be necessary because there’s not enough tooth left to save.
One of the best ways to ensure you have regular dental checkups is to make your next appointment for a checkup at the end of your current appointment. Put it on your calendar, and then forget about it until it’s time to visit your friendly, caring dentist again!