woman smiling and using both hands to point at her mouth

How Often Should You Go to the Dentist?

Team General

How do you keep your teeth clean and healthy? Routine dental care should involve a combination of self care and professional care by a dentist. By brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day, you take care of your teeth at home on a regular basis. But you also need to go to the dentist regularly to keep your teeth clean and healthy. 

How often should you go to the dentist for preventive care? Here’s the recommended schedule. 

Dental Appointments Should Be Scheduled Every 6 Months

Dentists and dental experts recommend that you see a dentist every 6 months for teeth cleaning and an oral exam. This is an ideal schedule for most people to maintain their dental health. However, some patients who have specific dental issues or who are a greater risk for tooth decay, may benefit from more frequent dental visits. Your dentist will recommend the best schedule for you. Most dental insurance plans cover routine dental appointments every 6 months based on dentists’ recommendations.

What is the Purpose of Preventive Dental Visits?

The purpose of these routine dental visits is preventive care, which refers to preventing cavities and other dental and oral health issues. Prevention is always preferable to treating an issue after it develops, such as a cavity filling or a root canal. Gum disease is another issue that is much more easily prevented than cured. The goal is to keep your teeth healthy and in place for your entire life if possible. 

What Does a Preventive Dental Visit Entail?

Your routine preventive dental visit will include a few different key elements:


  • Teeth Cleaning. The first step in a routine dental visit is for your dental hygienist to clean your teeth. They hygienist will use specialized dental tools to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth. They will also floss your teeth and polish them using a rotating tool. 
  • Oral Examination. The next step is for the dentist to perform an oral examination. The dentist will look over your teeth and mouth for any signs of issues, such as gum disease, gum recession, cavities, or other dental problems. The dentist may also remove any plaque or tartar that was not removed by the hygienist.  
  • Oral Cancer Screening. A very important part of the oral examination is an oral cancer screening. In addition to checking the soft tissues inside of your mouth for any signs of abnormalities, they will also feel your jaw and neck to ensure there are no other signs, such as tumors or swollen glands. Early detection of oral cancer greatly increases the survival rate, which is why a screening is performed every 6 months with your routine dental cleaning.  
  • X-Rays (Yearly). X-Rays are typically done once a year during one of your two yearly appointments. The main reason X-Rays are only done once a year is because that is the frequency that is covered by most dental insurance plans. The purpose of X-Rays is to identify signs of cavities and any other dental health issues that could be occurring below the gum line. 

How the 6 Month Schedule Can Save You Money

Many people avoid going to the dentist for a variety of reasons. Some have dental anxiety, some don’t have dental insurance, and others are just too busy to make time. But routine dental care is important and it can also save you money. 

By getting your teeth cleaned and examined every 6 months you can prevent tooth decay. But in the event that a cavity does develop, it will be discovered early and can be easily filled. If a cavity is not filled it will grow deeper and can eventually reach the inner pulp of your tooth, which may require a root canal. Now instead of just the cost of a cavity filling, you’ll have to pay for a more complex procedure. 

Even if you have dental insurance, it typically doesn’t cover procedures 100%. You will still pay a portion of the cost out of pocket, which can be significant when it comes to some dental procedures. And if the tooth becomes so severely decayed that it can’t be saved, now you’ll be facing the cost of replacing the tooth. Unfortunately dental issues don’t go away, they only get worse. Prevention and early treatment are the best ways to save money and keep your teeth healthy. 

Preventive Care at Doctors Lake Family Dental 

If you’re looking for a general dental practice for your routine appointments, Doctors Lake Family Dental can provide care for the whole family. Our comprehensive general dentistry services can help you maintain your dental health for a lifetime. 

Call 904-264-6700 today to schedule an appointment. We look forward to providing you and your family with top quality dental care.