up close photo of calendar pagesOne of the most common questions we hear from patients at Metropolitan Dental Care is, “How often should I schedule my dental checkups?” There isn’t a “cut and dry” answer to this question because every patient is unique, with their own specific set of dental needs. In today’s post, our Denver team will explore the importance of routine dental checkups and explain what factors help determine the frequency of your visits.

To learn more, or to schedule a dental checkup at our Denver or Lone Tree office, contact Metropolitan Dental Care. Call us at 303-534-2626.

The Importance of Regular Dental Checkups

Even if you are the most diligent patient and practice perfect oral hygiene at home, you’ll still need professional dental checkups. This is because oral bacteria repopulate every few months – and harmful microbes can hide in hard-to-reach places. Furthermore, during a dental checkup, your dentist can detect and treat problems early on, before they worsen. During each visit, we will check for cavities, gum disease, oral cancer, and more.

The “Six-Month” Myth

Most Americans today assume that every patient needs six-month cleanings. This notion was the result of military screenings more than 50 years ago. Assessments showed that many individuals entering the armed forces had poor oral health. There were no set guidelines for how often people should visit the dentist – so dental and health organizations made a “best guess” recommendation. As a result, they decided that individuals should go to the dentist twice a year to help prevent the development of cavities and gum disease.

This suggestion has worked well for many patients through the years. However, as research improves, we now know that dental checkups should be scheduled according to a person’s habits, oral hygiene, and health conditions. That’s why high-risk patients should visit the dentist more frequently. Conversely, low-risk individuals may only need cleanings once a year.

High-Risk Patients

There are certain patients that re considered high-risk. That is, they require more frequent dental checkups to maintain healthy teeth and gums. High-risk patients can include:

  • Diabetics
  • Smokers
  • Pregnant women
  • Those who are prone to cavities
  • Individuals with a genetic predisposition to gum disease
  • Those with immunosuppressive diseases
  • People undergoing chemotherapy or other cancer treatments

Some individuals may not be high-risk during their entire life. Changes in the mouth are common during hormone surges. As a result, some individuals may need frequent cleanings during times of stress, illness, or life cycle changes.

When to Schedule Your Dental Checkup

The only way to know how often to schedule your dental checkups is to talk to your dentist. After a comprehensive examination, he or she can determine if you are at risk for tooth decay, gum disease, or any other oral health issue. We may start you on a six-month schedule, then alter it accordingly once we see how you respond to the cleanings.

The real takeaway here isn’t that you should see the dentist more or less frequently; it’s that each and every patient should be treated according to their individual needs.

Schedule Your Dental Checkup Today

If it’s been some time since your last dental checkup, schedule a visit at Metropolitan Dental Care. With locations in Denver and Lone Tree, we’ve been serving our community for over 30 years. To learn more about the services we offer, contact us online or give us a call at 303-534-2626.