“See your dentist twice a year.” You have probably heard this recommendation many times, and it is a good guideline for many people. It is easy to remember and makes sense when considering how you attend to the rest of your healthcare needs. Nevertheless, there is no one-size-fits-all recommendation for how often you should visit your dental office. The number of visits you require is better determined by your needs than your calendar.
Why might I have to see my dentist more often?
There are two main reasons to see your dentist more than twice a year: poor oral health, and the presence of risk factors.
Poor oral health may mean that you are suffering from a wide array of conditions. For example, gingivitis that has been left untreated for some time may require close monitoring and/or additional cleanings. Gingivitis that is not treated properly can lead to decay and tooth loss. Other examples of dental conditions that may require close attention are tooth erosion and abscesses. Your dentist may need more than two visits a year in order to restore your health.
If you have certain risk factors for a particular oral health issue, your dentist may need to monitor your dental health more closely or perform cleanings more often.
Certain health conditions, like diabetes or acid reflux, are risk factors for oral health. After examining your mouth, your dentist can help you take steps to prevent oral issues stemming from your other health conditions. This may include additional visits or procedures depending on your health issues and the state of your mouth.
Another example of a risk factor for oral health issues is smoking. Patients who smoke may need more cleanings each year to combat tooth discoloration or prevent gum disease. Other examples of risk factors are poor oral hygiene, excessive alcohol intake, or injury.
So, how often should I be going to the dentist?
The bottom line is that you and your health are unique. Talk to your dentist about your health conditions, risk factors, and dental needs to determine how often you need to have a visit.