Why 9 Out of 10 People Don’t Realize They Need a Dental Exam Every 6 Months

Why 9 Out of 10 People Don’t Realize They Need a Dental Exam Every 6 Months

Posted by Smiles of Midtown Dentistry in Midtown Houston TX Feb 09, 2023

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Even though 10 out of 10 dentists recommend them, 9 out of 10 people don’t realize they need a dental exam every 6 months.

And here's why: they think that as long as their teeth are clean, they’re fine.

If you're one of the people who does not visit the dentist regularly, then it is important to make an appointment for a check-up as soon as you can. Many people do not realize the importance of regular dental visits, but they are essential for maintaining good oral health.

Many people think that as long as they brush and floss their teeth regularly, they don't need to see the dentist that often. However, there are a lot of things that can happen in between cleanings, and it's important to catch them early. A dental exam every 6 months can help prevent more serious problems down the road.

What most they don’t realize is that by the time they start noticing symptoms, it’s often too late to reverse the damage. But dentists can detect problems early and prevent them from becoming more serious.

A recent study found that nearly 60% of adults do not visit the dentist as often as they should. This is a real problem because dental problems can become more serious if they are not detected early enough. Regular dental visits will help prevent these problems from becoming more serious.

Here you can find more information on dental examinations such as: 

  • The Importance of Dental Exams
  • What Happens During a Dental Check-up
  • How Often Should You Have a Dental Exam
  • Signs that you might need a Dental Exam

The Importance of Dental Exams

Among other things, dental exams help to remove tartar and plaque buildup on your teeth which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.

They also help to detect oral cancer, which is one of the most curable cancers if caught early. Exams can also detect other problems such as TMJ disorders and bruxism (teeth grinding).

We had a patient come in last week. They hadn't been to the dentist in years and thought they were taking good care of their teeth. Turns out, they had 6 cavities.

If they had come in for regular dental exams, we could have caught those cavities before they turned into big problems. That's why it's so important to get a dental exam every 6 months.

Some aren't as fortunate and don't realize that they need one until it's too late.

What Happens During a Dental Exam?

Here's what you can expect during a dental check-up:

1. During a dental exam or check-up, your dentist will do a visual examination of your teeth, gums, and mouth.

2. The hygienist will clean your teeth and remove any tartar (hardened plaque) or stains. This is called a “prophylaxis” or “teeth cleaning.”

3. Next, the dentist will examine your mouth for any signs of trouble, such as decay, gum disease, oral cancer, or other problems.

4. If necessary, X-rays may be taken at this time to check for further issues like tooth decay or periodontal disease and to get a better look at what’s going on beneath the surface.

5. Finally, once they’ve gathered all the information they need, they’ll work with you to develop a treatment plan if necessary.

How Often Should You Have a Dental Exam?

At a minimum, a reasonable goal is to visit the dentist at least once a year for a comprehensive dental checkup. Ideally however, you should have a dental exam every 6 months, since a lot can happen within a 6 month time frame. Others, however, should plan to visit more often if they're at an increased risk for oral disease or other problems prevent further issues from developing.

People with diabetes are at an increased risk for gum disease and tooth loss. Smokers are also at an increased risk for gum disease and tooth loss. Pregnant women should see a dentist during their pregnancy to help prevent periodontal disease.

Those with gum disease should see a dentist every three to four months to help keep the disease under control.

Because everyone's mouth is different, the best way to find out how often is to check in with your dentist for more information and assess your risk for oral disease and what their recommendation is for your individualized exam and cleaning schedule.

Signs That You May Need a Dental Exam

The main sign that you may need an exam is tooth or mouth discomfort.

Another sign is the time since your last dental exam. That's because many dental problems don't cause pain or other symptoms until they're advanced. By the time you have a toothache, for example, the decay has reached the pulp of the tooth and you may need a root canal to save the tooth. Regular dental exams give your dentist a chance to catch problems early, when they're most easily treated.

Exams help keep your mouth healthy. Cavities and gum disease can lead to more serious problems, like infections and tooth loss. They can also affect your overall health - studies have linked gum disease to heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

For example, one study found that people with gum disease were more likely to have a heart attack than people without gum disease.

Thus, regular dental exams can save you time, money, and pain in the long run.

Over time teeth quality can deteriorate, exams help prevent worse outcomes.

“I had a dental exam and my teeth cleaned. The process was easy and very pleasant. Thank you Smiles of Midtown!”

-Belen M .

Generally people should get a dental exam every 6 months because it can help prevent cavities and gum disease, but this can vary.

Cavities are caused by bacteria that live in your mouth and form plaque. Plaque is a sticky film that covers your teeth. If you don't remove plaque, it will harden and turn into tartar. Tartar is a yellow or brown substance that can be difficult to remove. Gum disease is an infection of the gums that can cause tooth loss.

Getting a dental exam every 6 months can help prevent these problems. Additionally, here's where you can find more information on comprehensive dental exams: comprehensive-dental-exams

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