How Often Should You Visit the Dentist
Ever since you were little, you’ve heard that you should go to the dentist every six months. Is that really so? As with so many questions that we ask, the answer is “It depends.”
You may find that you go for six-monthly dental examination only to find that there are no problems. Did you waste your time and money? In our opinion, you did not. We could just as easily have found the beginnings of dental problems that we’d be able to resolve more easily now than we could in another six months.
Furthermore, we’ll likely give your teeth a scale and polish while you’re at our surgery and clearing away stubborn tartar can prevent problems like cavities and gum disease. Unfortunately, we can’t prove you’d have fallen victim to these issues without preventative dentistry, but we do know that you’re more prone to them without it.
What Does the Science Say?
Some people are at high risk of developing dental problems and may need to visit the dentist as frequently as every three or four months, but supposing your oral health is good, how often should you see a Fairview dentist?
Scientific studies that conclusively prove you need to see the dentist biannually simply don’t exist. At the same time, there is also no real evidence that your oral health will be equally good if you only see the dentist once a year or once every eighteen months.
A review of scientific studies only tuns up one comparing dental health outcomes in people visiting the dentist yearly versus those who only visit every two years. However, as the reviewers point out, the sample size for this study was rather small, and there may have been bias on the part of the researchers.
Another study compared people who went for regular dental check-ups to those who only went to the dentist if they had a problem. As you’d expect, the oral health of the group who saw their dentist regardless of whether they had problems or not had better oral health than those who didn’t. But this study doesn’t consider any differences between people who visit the dentist every six months to those who do visit the dentist for examinations but do so less frequently.
Too Individual to Generalize
Each of us has a unique combination of oral health risks. The greater your risk profile, the more frequently you should visit the dentist. However, unless you have a health condition like diabetes or need to keep your oral health in tip-top shape because you’re pregnant, it would be hard to say what your risk profile would be.
What we do know is that treating dental problems as soon as they rear their heads will help you to maintain healthy teeth and gums. In our experience, six months is long enough for new problems to begin developing. So, we can’t say there’s scientific proof in favour of six-monthly dental exams, but we can say that it’s a fairly safe bet for people without a severe risk profile.
When last did you see a dentist? Will you wait until there’s a problem? We advise that you don’t, and six months, though a rather arbitrary interval, works for us and our patients. Make your appointment if you’ve missed your regular dental exam. It could save your smile.