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How often should I see my dentist?

Our survey says……

It depends.  Everyone is different. Your dentist schedules your checkups based on your specific oral health needs.  As a general rule, checkups every six months are the standard. Why 6 months? The technical answer is related to how long it takes bacterial plaque to colonize, secrete acid and solidify into tartar deposits. The simple answer is, 6 months allows your dentist to diagnose any problems and take preventive action to stop problems before they develop.

Do I need a dental check-up? 

Yes.  Everyone needs regular dental checkups even if you don’t have teeth!  The reason is simple; you can’t easily examine the inside of your own mouth.  Your dentist is trained to detect potential problems and provide appropriate treatment.  Even if you brush and floss daily, your teeth and gums still need regular care from a dental professional.

What’s involved in a dental checkup?

A checkup can include some or all of the following procedures:

–       Screening: your dentist looks for anything unusual and catches small problems before they become big ones (e.g. early signs of gum disease, eroded fillings, infections and oral cancer). I recently detected signs of lymphatic cancer on my patient’s tonsils.

–       Treatment: your dentist may be able to fix a small problem right away.

–       Cleaning: your dentist or hygienist removes tartar buildup from our teeth.

–       Advice: your dentist can give advice and answer your questions based on the results of your checkup

Nine things your dentist can see that you can’t

  1. Deterioration in fillings, crowns and other restorations.

  2. Root cavities- decay on roots of teeth exposed by receding gums.

  3. Periodontal pockets caused by gum disease.

  4. New decay under the gumline.

  5. Cavities under existing fillings.

  6. Hairline tooth fractures.

  7. Impacted wisdom teeth

  8. Early signs of gum disease.

  9. Early signs of oral cancer.

Will the dentist take x-rays?

 X-rays may or may not be a regular part of your checkup.  Your dentist will only take x-rays if there is a need for them.

Why do I need my teeth cleaned?

Professional cleaning is the only way to remove hardened deposits of tartar from your teeth.  If tartar is not removed, it can cause gum disease.  Cleaning also smooths and polishes the surfaces of your teeth and your fillings so they are less likely to accumulate plaque (the invisible bacterial film that builds up on teeth every day).  Finally, cleaning removes stains and mild discolourations, so your teeth look better. This is particularly important if you have had porcelain restorations placed in your mouth.

So, if you have great teeth, no fillings, no cavities you should still see your dentist at least once a year.

If you have lots of filings, missing teeth, gum disease, dental implants, crowns, bridges, then see your dentist at least 2-3 times a year.

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