Dental Health

How Often Should I Visit the Dentist?

Visiting the dentist, like visiting your family doctor, is something that should be done regularly. Visits are intermittent, however, it can sometimes be easy to forget to make an appointment and you may not be sure how often you should do so.

Because the question “how often should I visit the dentist?” is so frequently heard, let’s answer it here and discuss why it’s important, what to expect during a visit, and more.

How Often Should I Visit the Dentist

How Often Should I Visit the Dentist?

You have likely heard it said that dental appointments should be every six months. This is a good rule of thumb, but of course, it doesn’t apply equally to everyone. While some studies have shown that certain individuals may go an entire year between visits without experiencing any significant dental issues, others need to go more regularly, even as often as every 3 or 4 months.

How often you need to visit the dentist will depend on your own unique situation, your eating and dental habits, as well as your overall oral health. While the 6-month guideline will likely suffice, you may discuss it with your dentist to have more insight.

Why is it Important to Visit the Dentist?

Some people think that the best time to see their dentist is when they are suffering from a toothache, or when they have some other issue that needs attending to, but seeing your dentist regularly helps prevent these issues from even occurring and offers other benefits as well.

Also, if you have kids, Calgary Family Dentist will be a good fit for you.

Reasons to see your dentist regularly include:

  • Saving Your Teeth

The most obvious benefit is, of course, taking proper care of your teeth. If you have a decayed or rotten tooth, they may need to remove it, which may lead to additional problems such as your teeth moving, discomfort, or permanent changes in your smile. Seeing your dentist regularly offers the opportunity to save your teeth before irreversible harm occurs.

  • Preventing Future Issues

Even though the dentist may be able to save your decayed teeth, it’s better to prevent such problems from ever arising. Your dentist can help you in the battle against tooth decay and they can help prevent future issues, saving you pain and discomfort down the road. During your visit, the dentist may notice a small cavity forming, indications of gum disease, or even signs of oral cancer. By spotting the problems early, you have a greater chance of successfully treating them.

  • Overall Health

Your oral health can impact systems throughout the body. For example, bacteria from your mouth can enter your bloodstream and cause infection or inflammation in other parts of the body. The heart, liver, and kidneys are particularly susceptible to bacteria from the mouth. If you want to help maintain your overall health, don’t ignore your mouth.

Eating the right food will increase your teeth health as well. You can read more about it in what to eat to prevent tooth decay.

  • Treating Bad Breath

Chronic bad breath can result from poor oral hygiene habits and it’s not something to treat on your own, as it could be an indicator of a medical condition that needs attention. Your dentist can pinpoint the cause of the problem so that it can be handled effectively.

What to Expect on a Visit

How Often Should I Visit the Dentist

When you visit your dentist for a regular checkup, you will greet the receptionist to inform them that you have arrived. If you are early, you will be asked to have a seat and wait until someone comes to get you for your appointment.

When the actual appointment begins, you will start with the dental hygienist. They will take your medical history if this is your first visit or ask about any recent changes or concerns if you have met with them previously. This helps them to provide the appropriate care and meet any special needs that you might have. This will be followed by a thorough tooth cleaning, with the hygienist removing any built-up plaque and tartar above and below the gum line. They will also floss your teeth to remove any lingering plaque or food particles and finish up with a polishing that leaves your teeth feeling clean and slick.

Your teeth and mouth will be checked for any potential problems, with an eye out for swelling of the gums, redness, or sores. You may also have x-rays taken, but this will not occur every visit. Healthy adults typically have them taken every 2-3 years, but if you have implants, crowns, or bridges, they may be done every 12-18 months.

How Long Will it Take?

This will vary depending on what is being done and if you have any special concerns that you want to discuss with your dentist, but on average, you can expect a typical dental appointment to last about 45 minutes.

If you are looking to get your smile straightening, you can check our article about Invisalign vs Metal braces.

How to Choose a Good Dentist

You and your dentist may be together for many years to come, so it’s important to find a good fit, with a dentist that can meet all your needs. Some of the things to look for when choosing a dentist include:

  • Referrals

Your family doctor or local pharmacist may be able to recommend a dentist to you, as may a family member or trusted friend. Just be sure to get plenty of information. Are they recommending this person because they are thorough, professional, and equipped with the right technology, or because they are “nice?”

  • Location and Office Hours

While perhaps not the most important factor, having a dentist in a convenient location is certainly a consideration for many people. That said, you may be willing to travel farther, or to a less convenient office to get the best care.

Similarly, if the dentist keeps office hours that are convenient for you, that may be a consideration if you want to avoid taking time off from work or school.

  • Services

Does the dentist offer full services? Some may offer multiple services from whitening to root canal and everything in between, while some may not. Do they have services in place for dental emergencies? No one wants to have to wait over the weekend with a broken tooth.

  • Friendly and Helpful Staff

You are going to be dealing with your dentist for what may be a long time. Your experience will be more enjoyable with someone attentive, helpful, and easy to communicate with.

At Aspen Dental, you will find a highly trained, professional staff that takes your oral health and general health seriously. We not only help make your smile the best it can be, but we also give you a reason to use it.

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Gum Recession: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

For many people, oral care is all about their teeth, which they want to keep clean and shiny white, or about their breath, which they worry isn’t fresh. Gums can, unfortunately, be an afterthought, but they play a vital role by acting as a barrier against bacteria that causes disease, while also supporting your teeth to keep them in place.

Gum recession refers to the gums pulling back from the surface of the tooth, exposing the roots. This is a common condition, but one that can be avoided with appropriate care. Unfortunately, many do not realize that their gums are receding until the condition has advanced to a later stage.

gum recession

Symptoms of Gum Recession

Receding gums are most often seen in adults over the age of 40 and are more common in men than women, though it is worth knowing and watching for the signs to catch it early, regardless of age or gender. Receding gums and other forms of periodontal disease will be diagnosed by your dentist, but some of the indications that you may experience include:

  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding after brushing or flossing
  • Swollen red gums
  • Pain at the gum line
  • Visibly shrinking gums
  • Exposed roots
  • Loose teeth

Causes of Gum Recession

There are several factors that could lead to receding gums. Poor oral health is one possibility. If plaque is allowed to build on the gums and teeth, this can lead to the gums becoming inflamed. If this inflammation remains untreated, it can result in the deterioration of the gums and supporting bone structure. Other potential causes include:

Overly Aggressive Brushing

It might seem as though vigorous brushing is a good way to get your teeth their cleanest, but it can be harmful by wearing down the enamel of your teeth and causing damage to your gums.

Genetics

If one or both of your parents suffer from gum recession, you may be at a higher risk.

Tooth Position

If your teeth are not aligned properly, it can create friction that results in your gums receding.

Clenching or Grinding Your Teeth

Along with causing other issues, clenching, or grinding your teeth can exert a force that wears down your gums much like misaligned teeth.

Trauma to Gum Tissue

Gum recession can occur at the site of a gum injury or nearby.

Tobacco Use

Smoking and other forms of tobacco use increase the risk of receding gums by causing other issues such as inhibited saliva flow and weakening the immune system.

Hormonal Changes

Women can be more susceptible to receding gums as they experience hormonal changes brought about by puberty, pregnancy, and menopause.

Gum Recession Treatment

gum recession

In mild cases of gum recession, treatment is usually not required. Your dentist may offer tips on prevention and continue to monitor your gums. A proper brushing technique that is not too aggressive is an effective intervention.

If treatment is required, there are several options:

Desensitizing Agents and Dentin Bonding Agents

These are ways to reduce the sensitivity of exposed roots. They can make brushing sensitive teeth more comfortable.

Pink Porcelain or Composite

This is a material that matches the colour of the gums and is used to fill in the space where gums have receded.

Removable Gum Veneers

These are used to replace large areas of missing gum tissue and are usually made of acrylic or silicone.

Orthodontics or Invisalign

Moving the teeth slowly over a lengthy period can correct the gum margin and make it easier to keep the teeth clean.

Surgery

This requires grafting tissue from another site in the mouth which heals over the recessed area. This is an option for severely receded gums.

Gum tissue unfortunately does not grow back, making it important to ensure that your oral care routine takes gum care into consideration. Proper brushing and flossing can go a long way toward protecting your gums and keeping them healthy.

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