How Often Do I Have to Go to the Dentist?

Technically, you don’t have to go to the dentist.  But we’ll rephrase the question so that we can give you an intelligent answer.  How often do you have to go to the dentist to maintain a completely healthy mouth?  That is a great question and one with a nice simple answer.

The Goal: A Completely Healthy Mouth

When the goal is a completely healthy mouth, the answer to the question of “How often do I have to go to the dentist?” is simple.

Most people should go twice a year for professional teeth cleanings with their dental hygienists and oral evaluations with their dentists.  During these visits, we remove one of the most important causes of dental disease from the teeth and gums (dental plaque) and perform a thorough evaluation of the mouth to catch any red flags or risk factors.

The dentist, who assesses each individual person’s risk for dental disease, should determine the frequency of these visits.  Some patients have low risk for cavities and gum disease, so they may be fine to see the dentist only once a year.  However, there are more people who have a high risk for diseases like cavities and periodontitis, who should see the dentist more often.  Some patients receive great benefit from professional teeth cleanings every six weeks!

Yes, we know that sounds a little extreme.  But for those patients with a high risk of worsening periodontal disease and additional risk factors that make it difficult for them to perform great oral hygiene, a shorter time between visits helps them maintain good oral health.

Know Your Risk

In order for you to understand the need for a different frequency of dental visits, you have to understand your unique risk factors for dental diseases.  Some people have a high risk for cavities and should not miss a single professional teeth cleaning.  Others have little risk for cavities or gum disease and a high risk for cracked or damaged teeth from heavy clenching and grinding.

When you know your specific risk areas, you can work with your dentist to determine the exact interval that is best for you and your oral health needs.  Accept that this interval could differ among your family members.  You may have a high risk for gum disease and need to see the dental hygienist every three months.  Your husband may have minimal risk for cavities or gum disease and be fine with a yearly visit.

In general, children should see the dentist twice a year to receive important preventive care like fluoride treatments and dental sealants.  These preventive measures stop cavities from starting early in life and improve your child’s oral health in the long run.

Know Your Motivation

You know yourself.  You know whether you are likely to commit to a strict daily oral hygiene routine or slack off after a few weeks or months.  If you remain committed to great plaque removal between visits, those visits can be further apart.  If, however, you tend to stop flossing between visits and you need that extra push from your dental hygienist, you should stick to a close interval.

Change Your Motivation

When you know the great benefits of maintaining great oral hygiene between dental visits, you have more motivation to do the hard work of keeping your teeth as clean as possible.  Of course, most people know that keeping up with a good brushing and flossing regimen will lower their risk for cavities and gum disease.

Did you know that it also provides these benefits?

  • Less money spent at the dentist
  • Less time spent at the dentist
  • More comfortable dental cleanings
  • Better breath
  • Lower risk for health problems like heart disease and Alzheimer’s
  • Increased lifespan

More Questions about How Often You Should Go to the Dentist?

Learn more about your unique risk factors and oral health needs by scheduling a consultation with Dr. Chowning today.  Call 940-382-1750 for an appointment and get started on your way to a completely healthy mouth!

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