Parents are usually on the ball when it comes to bringing their kids to the dentist but may let things slide when it comes to their own dental care. If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Most adults and children should see the dentist every six months for a routine check-up. But the American Dental Association underscores that scheduling dental check-ups also depends on the patient’s oral and overall health history. If you have underlying health issues or ongoing oral health concerns, you may need more frequent visits.
What Should I Expect at My Dental Check-Up?
Your routine dental visit will almost always involve cleaning and an exam. Your dentist will check for decay and monitor gum health. Your dentist will usually recommend X-rays at your initial appointment and determine how often follow-up imaging is needed based on your age and medical and dental history. X-rays help check for cavities, bone loss, infections, and abscesses. In children, they can also give your dentist a better picture of tooth spacing, loss of baby teeth, the eruption of permanent teeth, and timing for wisdom teeth. However, most patients don’t need X-rays at every visit.
Why Are Dental Check-Ups So Important?
When you make time for your routine dental check-ups, you are helping your dentist monitor the following oral health essentials:
- Prevention and early detection of cavities.
- Gum health and bone loss related to gum disease.
- Status of previous dental work and need to replace old fillings.
- Oral cancer screenings.
- For children, regular check-ups can also be a first step in identifying the need for orthodontic care.
How Does Oral Health Impact Overall Health?
More and more, the medical and dental communities understand the close relationship between oral health and overall health. There are links between gum disease and chronic illnesses and examples of oral infections leading to more significant health problems and even death. According to the Mayo Clinic, studies suggest that oral health problems are linked to other medical conditions, including:
- Endocarditis (an infection of the inner lining of the heart chambers or valves that can occur when bacteria from the mouth or other areas of the body spread through the bloodstream)
- Cardiovascular disease
- Pregnancy and birth complications including premature birth and low birth weight
When Do I Need to See My Dentist More Frequently?
For most of us, getting to the dentist every six months is just right. However, some patients may need to schedule more frequent visits:
- Patients with chronic illnesses, including diabetes, cancer, and HIV/AIDS.
- Tobacco users or patients with a history of oral cancer.
- Patients working to regain oral health after neglect or significant damage or gum disease.
Remember, if you have an oral health concern that comes up outside of your regularly scheduled check-ups, don’t wait. Contact your dentist and make time for a visit, so the problem doesn’t get worse.
What Are The Benefits of Preventive Dental Care?
Routine dental care prevents dental emergencies that can be financially, physically, and emotionally draining. We know that dental insurance benefits vary: some patients have most services covered while others have greater out-of-pocket costs. One thing to keep in mind is that the expense of preventive care is always lower than waiting until you have pain or a dental emergency. Catching issues early saves money and time in the dental chair. At Greenhill Family Dental Care, we’re here for patients when they have problems, and we welcome patients with dental health emergencies and concerns. We also recognize that sticking with a solid preventive care program is the best way to prevent costly problems from occurring. We understand that paying for routine dental care can be challenging. That’s why our office offers an option for financing with no interest and assistance in filing claims with insurance companies to get maximum coverage for services. We also accept payment via the Care Credit program, which offers credit for health care needs. Our goal is to help patients get preventive care that will save money in the long run and create a pathway to excellent oral health.