When you leave your dental appointment, you’re probably asked by the front desk if you’d like to schedule your next appointment, which is likely six months down the road. Why should you get a dental exam every six months, and what should you be doing between visits to help keep your mouth healthy? We explain why regular dental visits are essential in today’s blog.
Regular Dental Visits
Regular dental visits are important because there’s a lot that goes on during a routine exam. For example, a dentist will likely:
- Evaluate the health of your gums
- Perform a head and neck examination
- Check for signs of oral cancer, diabetes or vitamin deficiencies
- Examine your bite
- Check your jaw joint movement
- Take images like X-rays
- Checking for loose teeth
- Examine your tongue
All of these things happen in conjunction with the actual cleaning, which involves cleaning and polishing the surface of the teeth, removing any plaque or tartar buildup between teeth, checking for signs of tooth weakness or cavities and applying sealants or other enamel-enforcing substances. They’ll also take a look at any dental hardware that has previously been installed, like braces, crowns, caps or fillings.
Why Every Six Months?
Having a dental exam every six months may seem pretty frequent, but when you think of what your mouth is tasked with on a regular basis, it’s not that frequent at all. It’s tasked with crunching, crewing and helping start the digestive process for three meals a day with snacks in between, and it also has to hold up against sugary sodas or dark liquids like coffee. And it does this on a daily basis, which means if you go six months between visits, that’s more than 500 meals and countless snacks between thorough dental cleanings!
Because of this, it is very important that you take good care of your teeth between visits. Some ways you can do this include:
- Brushing your teeth at least two times a day
- Flossing daily
- Checking for redness, swelling or inflammation in your gums
- Drinking plenty of water and avoiding excessive sugary sweets
- Scheduling an appointment if you notice pain or tooth sensitivity
Another reason why six months is seen as the standard is because outside of traumatic injury, changes to your teeth are usually pretty slow in nature. This means that six month intervals are good places to check for new potential problems and stop other conditions before they spiral out of control. However, if you feel that something isn’t right or are dealing with tooth pain, don’t wait until your next semi-annual visit, contact Dr. Brooks’ office and set up an appointment right away.