If it’s not that nagging feeling of knowing it has been way too long since you’ve been to the dentist or the unease of having cosmetic issues tarnish your smile, nerve pain will assuredly convince anyone with oral health issues that they need to make an appointment ASAP. But beyond the obvious, how do you know when you need to see a dentist? And if it has been a while, where should you start?
How often should I visit the dentist and why does it matter?
As a general rule of thumb, most people should visit the dentist at least twice a year. Biannual checkups and cleanings can help keep cavities and gum disease away, even for people who may not take care of their teeth and gums quite as well as they should.
People with moderate to severe oral health issues, or whose conditions make them more susceptible to common dental problems, should see a dentist more often. These people include:
What does a dental checkup entail?
A typical dental checkup includes an examination and a cleaning, though your dentist may determine there’s enough time left in your visit to fit in some preventative maintenance. In general, your checkup will include the following three components:
During the examination of your face and gums, your dentist will also keep an eye out for oral cancer. Simply visiting the dentist regularly can help people spot oral cancer early and minimize the impact it has on their life.
How can I determine which dentist I should see?
While much of your criteria for a new dentist will be personal, there are a few things you should do to make sure you objectively decide on a reliable dentist’s office.
Ask your primary care physician for a recommendation. Read reviews about local dentists. Review a list of the services dentists offer and look for procedures you may consider more down the line. You can also create a shortlist of dentists by using helpful tools such as the American Dental Association’s Find-A-Dentist tool.
When should I schedule an appointment?
There are many other routes you can take to find a dentist you can count on indefinitely, but the most important thing is to do now is secure an appointment and go into your consultation ready to ask questions. The sooner you consult with a dentist and update your dental hygiene regimen, the less time you’ll have to spend at the dentist in years to come.
Don’t delay. Schedule an appointment with a dentist today.