How Often Should You Go to the Dentist?
The dentist’s office probably doesn’t make your top list of places you want to visit, but it’s important you do. It not only benefits your dental health; it’s good for your overall health too. But how often should you go to the dentist for a regular dental cleaning? The answer largely depends on if your teeth and gums are in good condition.
If You Have Healthy Gums
You only need to see us once every six months for a regular dental cleaning and checkup. Brushing, flossing, and rinsing with a mouthwash on your own is vital for dental health, but they can’t achieve everything. A professional cleaning helps remove plaque more effectively, and it’s the only procedure that can remove tartar.
A checkup is an opportunity to see if you have any dental or oral concerns, from cavities to periodontal disease to oral cancer. A checkup can also detect signs of other illnesses, such as diabetes, which sometimes appear in the mouth first.
If You Have Periodontal Disease (Also Known as Gum Disease)
You should see us for a cleaning every three to four months. Depending on the degree of your infection, Dr. Cha can give you a better estimate. If you have periodontal disease, we provide a deep cleaning known as scaling and root planing (SRP). Unlike a regular dental cleaning, SRP focuses more on your roots and gums. It also reduces infection and inflammation and promotes healing.
Should I Visit the Dentist More Often If I’m at Risk for Periodontal Disease?
Some dental professionals believe that you should see the dentist more often if you’re at risk for periodontal disease, but we disagree. A routine dental cleaning is plenty effective to help maintain healthy teeth and gums, and our opinion is that a deep cleaning won’t provide any added benefit if you don’t have the infection. But routine dental care will help us detect any changes that may suggest the onset of periodontal disease, and we can take proactive measures.
Am I at Risk for Periodontal Disease?
Your overall health and lifestyle — and some things outside of your control — play a significant role in determining your risk for periodontal disease. Some of the more common factors include:
- Weakened immune system
- Age (older people are at higher risk)
Plaque and tartar may not seem as alarming as diabetes and a weakened immune system do, but you shouldn’t underestimate their risk. Plaque can cause gingivitis, which is the mildest form of periodontal disease and can worsen if left untreated. Tartar can directly cause periodontal disease.
Should I See My Dentist in Addition to Routine Dental Cleaning?
There are other times in your life when visiting the dentist may be unavoidable — or strongly advisable. You should see us if you’re experiencing any of the following:
- Tooth pain
- Bleeding gums
- Swollen gums
- Spots or sores on gums
- Mouth sensitivity to hot or cold liquids/foods
- Difficulty chewing
- Jaw pain
- Uneven bite
- Dry mouth
Some of these symptoms could indicate problems related specifically to your dental health or they may point to an underlying medical condition. That’s why it’s important to be proactive if you notice anything out of the ordinary.
You’ll also want to let us know if you’re experiencing any problems with fillings, crowns, dental implants, or dentures, such as cracks or looseness. And don’t forget to see us if you’re embarrassed by your smile. Cosmetic imperfections, including crooked teeth or diastema (gaps between your teeth), can negatively impact your self-esteem and well-being.
How Does Visiting a Dentist Benefit My Overall Health?
You might not realize it, but your mouth serves as a gateway — good and bad — to the rest of your body. The reason for this is mainly due to the bacteria in your mouth and its ability to travel elsewhere. Good oral health and your body’s natural defenses are usually enough to keep that bacteria at a minimum. Still, certain factors can increase it, such as some medications and illnesses. If those bacteria levels rise, they put the rest of your body at risk for various problems, including:
- Cardiovascular ailments, including heart disease and stroke
- Respiratory illnesses
- Rheumatoid arthritis
That’s why we can’t stress enough the importance of scheduling a regular dental cleaning and checkup every six months. It’s a routine visit but also the best preventative care for your dental and general health.
Should I Go to the Dentist Soon?
Hopefully this article helps you answer the question of how often you should go to the dentist. Of course if you’re overdue for a routine dental cleaning and checkup — especially if you have periodontal disease — then yes you should see the dentist soon! Mint Dental Studio is open Mondays through Thursdays, and our friendly staff will fit you into our schedule. Give us a call at 303.930.8828. We look forward to serving you at our Greenwood Village dental office!