How Often Should I See My Dentist?
In a previous blog post, we discussed how often you should get your teeth cleaned. This time around, we will be talking about the best schedule for visits with your dentist.
Anytime you visit a dental office for the first time, it is necessary to see the doctor for a comprehensive exam and xrays. It is very important for the staff at a new office to get a combination of thorough medical and dental histories and quality radiographs. This first visit is a great opportunity for the staff to get to know you and learn about concerns that you may have about your teeth. During your evaluation, bone level will be measured during a periodontal screening and every tooth will be checked over for cracks, cavities and areas of concern.
When Something Doesn’t Feel Right
In our not too distant past, people sought treatment from a dentist when there was an obvious problem because dental visits generally focused on fixing teeth instead of preventing costly repairs and extractions. Although we would rather stay ahead of potential dental issues, a good rule of thumb is to contact us whenever you think something might be wrong. A funny taste or smell, sensitivity to temperatures or strange sensations when you chew may not seem threatening at first, but they can all be a sign of bigger problems. Investigating those seemingly minor issues now could save you time and money in the near future.
When You Have Your Teeth Cleaned
When all is well, most of our patients will be getting a visit with the hygienist on a six month interval. A common misconception is that the dentist follows up with an examination to make sure the hygienist did a good job. A much more accurate scenario is that the dentist is reviewing all of the information that the hygienist gathers, reads x-rays and give an official diagnosis for future appointments. Your dentist can actually see all of your teeth better when they are free of plaque and tartar buildup. By law, in most states, it is the dentist and only the dentist that can diagnose a cavity or periodontal problem.
Although we do have many patients that visit our office every three to four months, we expect everyone to see the dentist once a year at the very minimum. Keep in mind that many dental problems are completely void of pain and aggravation until they are pretty far gone. Keeping a short dental leash on yourself will ensure a happy healthy mouth for years to come. You know the old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”!