Generally, people are instructed to visit the dentist every six months. But according to the CDC’s most recent National Health Interview Survey (2020), only 63% of adults in the United States have visited their dental office for a dental cleaning and exam in the past year.
Dr. Peter Noto of Gallery Dental of Oakbrook in Oakbrook Terrace, IL, explains whether you should really schedule a dental visit every six months or if it’s just a gimmick.
Is there any merit in the “visit your dentist every six months” rule?
Insurance providers recognize that routine dental visits can save them cash in the long run. At dental office visits, dentists diagnose significant health problems (such as tooth decay) in their earliest stages before it worsens into a more expensive, irreversible issue (for example, tooth loss).
Essentially, the “visit your dentist every six-month rule” serves as a guideline for patients. Bi-annual appointments help your dentist catch and stamp out health issues early on so that they don’t spread like wildfire.
Should some patients visit their dentist more often?
Still, the ADA (American Dental Association) cites that there’s no “one-size-fits-all” dental treatment, meaning how often you go to your dental office should be based on your needs. In fact, some patients require visiting their dental office more than twice a year. For instance, people predisposed to gum disease, cavities, and other oral health problems might benefit from frequently seeing their dentist.
What happens if you avoid the dental office?
Dental issues can arise swiftly, so visiting your dentist at least twice every six months ensures that issues can be caught and addressed early. Furthermore, infrequent dental care is associated with increasing your chances of developing the following oral health conditions:
Plaque and Tartar Accumulation
Plaque is a bacterial biofilm that protects teeth. However, it will collect if you don’t brush and floss twice a day. As plaque accumulates, it calcifies into tartar, yellowing the teeth. Regular dental cleanings are the most effective way to clear away layers of plaque and tartar deposits. As a bonus, you might notice that your teeth look a little brighter.
Gum (Periodontal) Disease
Regular dental visits ensure that your dentist can spot and reverse gum disease in its earlier stage (gingivitis). Typically, gum disease starts as swollen, red gums but goes downhill without intervention. As gingivitis progresses into periodontal disease, your dentist cannot reverse it but only manage it.
Sadly, some individuals can’t prevent cavities (even with proper hygiene). However, frequent dental office visits help your dentist catch cavities in their early stage to provide more conservative intervention (like a dental filling). If left unaddressed, tooth decay destroys your teeth from the enamel to the root.
Schedule an Appointment at our Oakbrook Terrace, IL Dental Office Today
What can you expect from routine dental cleaning and check-ups at Gallery Dental of Oakbrook? We strive to facilitate a VIP experience for our patients by providing refreshments, massage chairs, Wi-Fi, and other aspects of our signature brand of comfort dentistry.
During your appointment, we thoroughly inspect the health of your teeth, gums, and other supporting structures to ensure the longevity of your smile. Next, our dental hygienist uses specialized tools to reach every crack and crevice that even the best at-home brushing and flossing cannot reach.
In summary, dental cleanings do a lot more than keep your mouth clean. Regular dental cleanings serve as an opportunity for your dentist to keep your smile as healthy as possible and provide intervention (when needed). If you believe that it’s time to schedule your bi-annual dental office visit, don’t hesitate to call (630) 620-8300 or message us online.