The general rule of thumb tends to be that everyone should see their dentist every six months.
However, this doesn’t take into account the person’s oral hygiene habits or other medical conditions. Does someone with good home care really need to come in just as often as someone who doesn’t?
It’s unclear where this six-month figure even originated from, and we’ve even heard that it’s been used as far back as the 18th century!
We wanted to reach out to some dentists for their take. Some of the things we asked them included:
• Do you suggest that your patients see you every six months? Is there evidence that this is the best schedule?
• If someone takes excellent care of their teeth, what’s the longest they should go between regular exams and professional cleanings?
Here’s what they had to say:
The six-month recommendation originated with a toothpaste commercial. Some people should come more frequently, depending on their mouth condition, and a few could probably go longer. We still recommend every six months for people without gum disease problems.
Overall I like every six months. Even in patients that don’t get decay, because I am also looking for cancer, occlusion problems, growth issues and more. Things can develop in 6 months. I have had a few patients who did not get decay suddenly develop decay in several areas due to xerostomia brought on by a new medication.
It depends on the patient’s periodontal health. How quickly the patient builds up biofilm, aka Tarter. Each patient is different. Some patients are seen every 3 months 4 times a year, some 4 months 3 times year, and others 6 months 2 times a year.
If a patient presents with bleeding inflamed gums and is using an electric brush (Oral B or Sonicare) and Waterpik, maybe more frequent visits, because of the patient’s biochemistry. Our office evaluates the patient’s periodontal health at every visit.
This is the most important care a patient can receive from their dental health provider in order to achieve the goal of oral health for a lifetime. This can only be achieved with a team working together patient, hygienist, and doctor. Research shows a healthy mouth can add 8 years to a persons life.
While the actual cleaning needs may vary from patient to patient, our dentists have provided some excellent reasons why even patients with good home care should continue to get cleanings and exams twice a year. Early detection of oral cancer, in particular, is a good reason to consider regular visits.
If in doubt about your checkup schedule, discuss it with your dentist. If you don’t don’t already have one, however, and you live in one of the cities of the dentists above, click on their name in order to view their profile and read some reviews.
For those of you in other locations, click on the “Find a Dentist Near Me” button to see some dentists near where you live!