Dental News

How Often Do You Really Need to Visit the Dentist?

February 17, 2014

You may need to visit once per year or several times depending on your needs

How Often Do You Really Need to Visit the Dentist?For many years, prevailing wisdom dictated a visit the dentist for a cleaning and exam every six months. New research, however, suggests that twice-yearly cleanings may not be right for all patients. A recent study found that visiting the dentist only once per year instead of twice did not cause any significant change in the risk of tooth loss among healthy adults with a history of good oral health.

Depending on factors like your age, your oral health history, and certain other risk factors, you may need to visit the dentist more or less frequently. It’s important to get care tailored to your unique needs to help prevent tooth decay and gum disease from leading to tooth loss and other painful conditions.


Kids don’t always do a great job taking care of their teeth. They may develop cavities more frequently than adults, and because tooth pain can have a big impact on kids’ ability to stay focused in school, it is highly recommended to be proactive about children’s oral health. Kids should visit the dentist twice per year to aid in the early detection and correction of cavities and other oral health issues.

Senior citizens may also wish to visit the dentist twice per year, or perhaps even more frequently, to help them keep their natural teeth as long as possible. Professional cleanings are especially important for individuals who may not be able to floss or brush as well as they’d like due to dexterity or mobility issues.

Oral Health History

Some people have a higher risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer than others for genetic reasons. If you have a history of these problems in your family, you have struggled with chronic gum disease, or you have had many cavities filled, you probably should not switch to one dental visit per year. Visiting twice per year will help ensure any problems are caught early and enable you to get the treatment you need to save you teeth.

Other Risk Factors

Poor diet, smoking, and diabetes are all examples of risk factors for tooth decay and gum disease. If you have any of these risk factors, you will definitely want to continue visiting the dentist twice per year. If you also have a history of chronic gum disease or tooth loss, you may want to visit more often for deep cleanings using the root planning & scaling technique.

Emergency Needs

Of course, in the event of an emergency such as sudden tooth pain, a broken tooth, a damaged crown or bridge, or a knocked out tooth, you will want to schedule an immediate visit to your dentist.

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