More than 50 years ago, examinations of people entering the military showed that Americans’ teeth were in pretty bad shape. Few people took good care of their teeth. There were no guidelines for how often you should see a dentist. Many dentists focused on fixing problems rather than preventing them.
Dental and health organizations decided there was a need to set standards for preventive dentistry. They didn’t have much evidence, so they made a “best guess” recommendation. They said people should go to the dentist twice a year for checkups and cleaning because cavities and gum disease are preventable.
Whatever the origins, this has proven to be a useful rule of thumb for many people. But scheduling dental visits really should be based upon each person’s oral hygiene, habits and medical conditions.
Even if you take excellent care of your teeth and gums at home, you still need to see a dentist regularly. Your dentist can check for problems that you may not see or feel. Many dental problems don’t become visible or cause pain until they are in more advanced stages. Examples include cavities, gum disease and oral cancer. Regular visits allow your dentist to find early signs of disease. Problems can be treated at a manageable stage.
On average, seeing a dentist twice a year works well for many people. Others may need more frequent visits. In fact, many dental insurance plans will now cover up to three dental cleanings per year. Check with your specific insurance plan to see what coverage they provide. People with a high risk of dental disease might need to visit every three or four months, or more. This high-risk group includes:
- Pregnant women
- People with current gum disease
- People with a weak immune response to bacterial infection
- People who tend to get cavities or build up plaque
The schedule for any person may change during a lifetime. In times of stress or illness, you may need to see the dentist more often than usual. The dentist may help you to fight off a temporary infection or treat changes in your mouth.
At Johnson Family Dental in Paducah, we want to help you keep your teeth healthy and strong for a lifetime. Give us a call at (270) 554-2432 or stop by our office at 2913 Lone Oak Rd, Paducah, KY 42003 to schedule an appointment.