Dental Questions Answered: How Often Should You See the Dentist?

Jamie J. Alexander on August 4, 2017

The short answer to one of the most common dental questions is every six months and sometimes more frequently. Here’s why.

Dental plaque that leads to gum disease and dental decay can develop over a six-month period. Dental cleanings in our office will remove plaque and polish tooth surfaces to slow down bacteria build up. While you are at the office for these cleanings, we will examine your gums and teeth to find early signs of gum inflammation and enamel erosion. This gives us the opportunity to nip problems in the bud when treatment is simple. At Jamie J. Alexander, D.D.S., in Boynton Beach, it is also our practice to always look for visible signs of oral cancer, as this must be discovered at the earliest.

Once a year, we will take x-rays using low radiation digital technology that is safe. This enables us to evaluate the health of roots and periodontal bone tissue below the gum line. It’s at these times that hidden problems can be spotted.

Even if your teeth have been replaced or restored, regular hygiene and check-up visits are essential. Both fixed and removable restorations can wear. Decay can develop under a crown. Periodontal bone tissue can resorb and change the shape of the jaw bone, affecting the fit of a denture and thus its stability and comfort. Gum tissue can recede exposing more tooth length and crown margins. The possible changes that can occur over time as we age are almost unlimited.

Then, there are variables such as lapses in oral hygiene, illnesses, medications with oral side effects, jaw joint arthritis, occlusal interferences (tooth on tooth contacts), and habitual bruxism (tooth grinding) that play a role in deteriorating oral health. You may go along for years before you need more restorative treatment, but with six-month visits in our office, we can minimize the amount of dentistry you will need.

Six-month intervals are what you should expect for the rest of your life unless Dr. Alexander determines there are reasons for a clinical exam and treatment more often. If he recommends this, he will fully explain why.

Dental Questions Answered about Restorative and Cosmetic Treatment

If you have need of and accepted restorative treatment, additional appointments will be made for that treatment. If you have been experiencing dental pain consistent with a pulp infection, you will need a crown soon after having endodontic treatment (root canal therapy).

If you have requested cosmetic dentistry, there will be additional appointments for the cosmetic procedure(s). If you have active gum disease, you will be advised to return before six months for your next dental cleaning. If you have been battling chronic gingivitis (low-grade gum inflammation), which can easily happen as we age, we will recommend you have dental cleanings every four months instead of every six.

Dental Questions Answered about Night Guard Wear

If you have been given a custom night guard to wear because Dr. Alexander has observed dental wear patterns consistent with bruxism (teeth grinding), he will recommend you come in within eight weeks of receiving the appliance to examine its comfort, fit, and wear patterns on it. If you have been suffering painful symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD), you and he will both want to continue with the initial therapeutic steps with visits timed for your special needs.

If you are at heightened risk for development of plaque, enamel erosion (decay), or a resurgence of the periodontal disease, he will recommend you visit more frequently. This may be the case if you are in bracket and wire orthodontics if you are suffering from low saliva production (xerostomia) if you are receiving chemo therapy and other special circumstances.

Some patients prefer to come in for teeth cleaning every three months, and that is okay. We are here to serve you. Remember that by working together we can minimize the number of dental visits you will need over your lifetime to maintain the best of health and a beautiful smile. If you have more dental questions, feel free to give us a call.