You have probably heard that you need to see a dentist twice per year. Or maybe you have heard that you need to go to the dentist every six months. Either way you likely know that you need to see a dentist once during the beginning of the year and once at the end. For parents, this usually means getting everyone to the dentist in January during the winter break and then again in July during the summer break or right before school starts back up. But if you have ever wondered why dentists recommend two times a year, we want to provide some answers.
There are two important elements of any regular dental check-up. One half involves having your teeth professionally cleaned, and the other half involves having your teeth examined. Your regular dental visit accomplishes two very important things: cleaning away plaque that you can’t clean on your own and checking for warning signs of dental issues. Without these regular intervention plaque can grow unchecked and decay can start without you even noticing.
During a dental cleaning, your hygienist will likely do a few things. They may use scraping tools to remove tartar and plaque that is almost impossible to remove with toothbrushes, mouthwash, or flossing. When plaque first forms it can usually be cleaned off with a toothbrush, but over time it hardens and bonds to the tooth. Without a scraper tool it can be almost impossible to clean.
Additionally, a dentist can provide special treatments like fluoride treatment or dental sealants to help protect your teeth. Fluoride strengthens teeth and sealants provide a synthetic barrier that protects our most vulnerable teeth (molars) from cavities.
After you work with a dental hygienist your teeth will usually be examined by a dentist. Your dentist is going to look for any sign of cavities or gum disease. One big issue with our teeth is that the outermost layers don’t have nerves. You likely won’t feel the early signs of tooth decay, and by the time you do feel them you will likely already have a cavity.
Additionally, dental x-rays provide even more information for our dentists. We cannot see what is under our gums without the help of x-ray technology. By taking a quick peek your dentist can find a variety of warning signs and help reverse them before they cause issues.
You may have heard that only kids need to see the dentist twice a year. And while there is some truth to the importance of why kids need to see a dentist, it isn’t true that adults should skip visits. Kids teeth are more vulnerable to dental decay for a variety of reasons, and a dentist is an important medical provider for children who are losing baby teeth, seeing their molars erupt, and potentially having issues with wisdom teeth. That being said, that doesn’t mean parents should avoid the dentist. Not only is that a bad example for your kids, but you only have one set of adult teeth. Avoiding the dentist can mean putting those teeth at risk of irreversible decay. We highly recommend that everyone, regardless of age visits the dentist at least twice per year.