While visiting the dentist may not be anyone’s idea of a good time, it’s something everyone has to do if they want to maintain optimal oral health. The question of how often one should go to the dentist, however, is one that doesn’t have a straightforward answer.
The general assumption is you have to see your dentist once in six months, but this isn’t always true. Depending on how good your oral health is, the dentist can recommend more or less frequent visits for you. Dental check-ups can vary from as little as every three months to as much as every two years. The primary determinant is how healthy your teeth and gums are and your risk of developing problems in the future.
Usually, if one has a low risk of dental issues, the dentist recommends a longer wait before the next check-up. The frequency for those with healthy teeth and gums is usually once in 12 to 24 months.
Certain high-risk groups require regular visits to the dentist to help them maintain proper oral health. The frequency at which their visits to the doctor are made is usually multiple times in less than six months.
One of these groups is pregnant women. Pregnant women experience several irregular spikes in hormone production, and this can result in tooth sensitivity, increased tooth decay, and swollen gums. They are also prone to having an oral infection which can cause pre-term delivery. Pregnant women are therefore advised to talk to their dentist once they begin to notice pains or changes in their mouth.
Smokers are another high-risk group. Cigarettes have a drying effect on the mouth that reduces the amount of saliva in the mouth. The reduction in saliva, in turn, prevents the bacteria in the mouth from being effectively washed away by the saliva. The bacteria end up staying longer in the mouth and infecting it. While for people in this category, quitting smoking is the best option, there are also products a doctor can recommend for them.
Cancer patients are also a high-risk group. Chemotherapy can cause dryness of the mouth and stiffness of the jaw in patients. It’s essential for cancer patients to check in with their dentists before they begin their chemotherapy treatments, and check in with them regularly during the treatment. The dentist will evaluate the situation routinely to ensure that any damage done isn’t permanent and recommend possible ways of coping.
High-risk people have to visit the dentist more regularly, while healthy people may be required to schedule an unplanned appointment with their dentist. If you notice any change in your dental health that causes any discomfort or pain, you should contact a reputable dentist like the ones at Shallowford Family Dental Group.
Anything, including teeth sensitivity to hot or cold, swollen or bleeding gums, chipped teeth or continuous tooth pain should be reported immediately to your dentist. Waiting longer usually results in a more complicated case.
Featured image © Matt Madd/Dentist
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