I know, visiting the dentist is not the most popular choice by everyone, young or old. Most people visit the dentists only when they feel soreness or pain. However, like how people go for regular body check-ups, everyone should also visit their dentist routinely. These visits will save you time, pain, and money as we help identify tooth problems before they escalate and eliminate them at the initial stage.
The usual answer is 6 months. However, this is only the case if your dentist decides that you have no other problems.
I will classify such ‘problems’ into 2 broad categories: teeth and gums.
Assume that this is your first visit to a particular dentist. The dentist will first do a thorough examination to check the state of your teeth and gums. Common problems regarding teeth include decayed, abraded and cracked teeth.
If your dentist decides that there are no problems with your teeth and you do not have gum disease (we will delve into this in later posts), a standard Scaling and Polishing (S&P) treatment is carried out. If you have no problems with your teeth and gums and all you require is a S&P, the next dental visit can be 6 months. In such healthy individuals, studies have shown that the time period between visits can be anywhere from 6 months to 24 months (yes, 2 years!).
Personally, however, I will not recommend waiting 2 years between dental visits unless you have absolutely perfect oral hygiene habits. Even then, decay of teeth may set in even in individuals with great oral hygiene. And if you leave decayed teeth untreated for too long, guess what is going to happen? Yep, the dreaded root canal.
On the flip side, I sometimes see patients with clean teeth and they ask me, ‘Doctor, can I see you once every year instead?’. In these type of cases, I feel that there is no issue in doing so if I know that the patient has a good history of keeping his or her teeth clean. I usually just jokingly warn them, ‘Make sure your teeth is as clean at the next visit….if not…*evil grin*‘
However, do listen to your dentist if he or she tells you that you need to return sooner… Usually this means you have a problem!