“When was the last time you saw a dentist?” It’s the question I am always asked in the dentist chair when I need dental treatment because I felt pain, or am sensitive to food temperature like ice cream. Basically, I go to the dentist when I need to see one and it makes sense. or so I think.
If I’m being honest, I always feel a bit ashamed of my answer because it is generally way over what any dentist in Australia recommends: 6 months. So now, why should I see a dentist every 6 months? Even when I feel fine and don’t necessarily feel like spending on my dental health this month.
Why 6 months?
Why 6 months to begin with? it is the safest time that allows for early detection, should you have anything serious on the way. For example, detecting a cavity in its early stage is a lot better than letting it develop and have your tooth decaying to the point it isn’t treatable and end up with a crown. The consequences are hefty, both for your health and for your purse.
It’s worth pointing out that even if you feel nothing wrong, it doesn’t mean you are healthy. Small decay isn’t necessarily felt and slightly bleeding while you brush your teeth might seem normal to you. you will generally feel discomfort once your issue has taken a significant proportion. This can lead to an unnerving conversation with your dentist about extractions, dental implants, root canals, or any other complex and costly treatments.
It’s also all about prevention and not reaction. Going to the dentist every 6 months might mean that you never have a dental issue. It’s partly due to the fact that during your regular dental check-up you will receive advice on how to take care of your teeth. For example, your dentist might see your gum are a little bit inflamed will find out with thorough questioning and will end up telling you how to treat this – generally it is about the way you brush your teeth, how often you floss and what type of toothpaste/toothbrush you use.
But it can be even less if you are considered “high risk”
You might even have to see the dentist every 3 to 6 months if you have had recent problems and need to keep a close eye on the way your teeth are healing. People who should go every 3 months are people who:
– just went through some serious dental procedures such as dental implants or wisdom teeth extraction
– keep on eating sugary foods and drinks, leading to regular tooth decay and treatment
– recent serious tooth decay
– Missing teeth – if you are missing teeth or recently got a tooth extracted
– suffer from dry mouth – dry mouth leads to a ton of dental problems like decay which need to be caught early on
– smoke regularly and heavily
– pregnant women
– currently, suffer from gum disease
– have a weakened immune system and prone to bacterial infection
It can also be less if you are considering a cosmetic treatment
Cosmetic treatments such as teeth whitening require you to get your teeth checked and cleaned beforehand to make sure the treatment works best.
Times have changed
As much as it can be daunting, a lot of dentists in Perth have tried really hard to make the experience a lot more enjoyable and less stressful.
They are designing their practices with stressed clients in mind and spend a lot more time telling you and showing you what you are dealing without pressuring one way or another.
Financial plans are also common practice, some with no interest rate, so you can weigh your options without feeling burden all at once financially.
The more you go, the less you’ll need invasive treatment unless it is an emergency, and the more comfortable your check-ups will be.
Now, the next embarrassing question I hate being asked at the dentist is how often do you floss, but that is another story!