With flossing challenged, it was only a matter of time before someone would start to undermine the notion that people should visit the dentist every six months. The implication is that dentists are taking advantage of you by recommending that you come in for a dental checkup every six months.
While it’s true that not everyone needs to come in for a checkup every six months, for many people this is still a good piece of advice.
Trying to Combat Dental Costs
The remarks that not everyone needs to go to the dentist every six month were made by the UK’s top dentist, Dr. Sara Hurley. She was being challenged by the issue of rising costs for dental care in the country’s National Health Service.
Dr. Hurley said that part of the problem is that many dentists don’t follow the recommended guidelines, which say that people may not need to see their dentist more than once every two years. Instead, they recommend a visit in six months out of a combination of mendacity and conventionality. And patients, not knowing any better, blindly accept the recommendation and come in for a checkup even though they might not need to.
It’s Not “One Size Fits All”
It was quickly clarified by other dentists that the point of the remarks was that dental care is never “one size fits all.” Instead, dentists and patients need to be aware that every person’s dental care needs are different, and so they have to be treated not according to a blind set of rules, but according to the state of their oral health.
Although the rule of visiting the dentist once every six months is a good guideline for most people, some people should see the dentist more often or less often depending on the state of their oral health.
Can You Wait Longer Than Six Months between Dental Visits?
In general, it’s best to follow the instructions of your dentist about how often you should schedule your regular checkups. However, there are some indicators that you might not need to visit the dentist twice a year. If all of the following are true, you might not need another dental visit in six months:
- You are young (child, teens, or early 20s)
- You practice excellent oral hygiene
- Your checkups are generally uneventful (no cavities or gum disease)
- Cleanings are quick and easy–little tartar to remove
- Your overall health is good
- You have a good diet that is low in sugars and acidic drinks
- You don’t have habits (such as smoking) that can endanger teeth
If that describes you, then you can skip your six-month dental visit. Don’t immediately wait two years, though. Gradually increase the interval between dental visits and see if it changes your oral health.
Do You Need to See a Dentist More Than Twice a Year?
On the other hand, many people actually need to see a dentist more often than twice a year. If any of the following is true, then you should probably be seeing the dentist three or more times a year:
- You always have cavities and/or gum disease when you visit the dentist
- Your professional cleanings take a long time and cause your gums to be sore and bleed
- You have difficulty performing oral hygiene at home
- You have compromised health that increases your risk of oral health problems
- You are a smoker, consume lots of sugar, or drink sodas and other acidic beverages regularly
- You have dental restorations (such as dental implants) that may benefit from additional treatment
People with compromised health may need to see the dentist a lot more often. Some of the most common conditions that impact your oral health include diabetes, dry mouth or medications that cause dry mouth. But it’s also important to see the dentist more often if you are at increased risk from gum disease and other bacteria in the mouth. This may include cancer patients, people with compromised immune systems because of HIV or medications that suppress the immune system, and transplant patients. In some cases, it might be recommended that you visit the dentist as often as six weeks, not months!
Are You Overdue?
Have you been visiting the dentist often enough to maintain your oral health? If not, then it’s time to schedule your next appointment. If you are looking for a dentist in the Orlando area, please call (407) 834-6446 today for an appointment with Dr. Michael L. Weinstock in Altamonte Springs.