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There are some unavoidable facts of life – taxes, the first day of school, and dental exams. Your routine exams are incredibly important and help you maintain a healthy smile for life. Some patients also benefit from more frequent dental exams – more than twice a year, which is the ADA’s general recommendation. Just why might you need additional exams? The personal factors differ from patient to patient, but they likely include some of the reasons below.
Looking for a dental you’ll love seeing every year? Reach out to schedule an appointment with Dr. Baudean and our team.
Factors That Impact Your Dental Exam Schedule
You’re at heightened risk for gum disease
Gum disease is a serious condition that impacts the health of your teeth and gums. It is a significant contributing factor to tooth loss. If you have had gingivitis in the past or have other lifestyle or health conditions that make periodontal disease more likely, you should visit your dentist more often.
Some common gum disease risk factors include:
- Smoking or other tobacco use
- Hormonal changes (from pregnancy or menopause)
- Poor oral hygiene
- Drug use
- Poor nutrition
- Genetic predisposition
- Dry mouth or medications that cause dry mouth
You tend to have cavities
If you have had many cavities in the past, your teeth will likely benefit from some additional TLC. Cavities form when acids from plaque erode tooth enamel and create small holes filled with bacteria. Plaque buildup occurs when oral hygiene isn’t performed properly. This sticky film gathers on the teeth and irritates the enamel and the gums. Plaque can also harden into calculus/tartar, which is very difficult to remove at home.
Your dentist will remove plaque and calculus to give your mouth a fresh start and reduce the risk of further cavities developing.
You have a history of oral cancer
Oral cancer is more common than many people realize – about 1 in 60 men develop oral cancer, and 1 in 140 women. Your dentist is typically the first provider to notice signs of potentially cancerous tissues in the lips, mouth, or throat. If you have a history of oral cancer, it is beneficial to have additional oral cancer screenings to ensure it does not return.
You have diabetes
Diabetes impacts your gum health and contributes to inflammation. This makes gum disease more common. There’s also a connection between blood sugar and gum disease. If you have diabetes, routine dental exams are even more important so that you can manage any gum inflammation or infection.
Other conditions can also impact gum disease risk, including HIV/AIDS, cancer treatment, rheumatoid arthritis, and Crohn’s.
During pregnancy, your body experiences significant, rapid changes. The hormonal fluctuations associated with pregnancy can impact your gums and make them more vulnerable to inflammation and bleeding. Your dentist may recommend that you schedule more frequent dental exams during your pregnancy to ensure that you stay healthy and safe, without gum disease.
Your lifestyle puts your teeth at greater risk
Many lifestyle factors and habits have an impact on your risk of cavities and gum disease. If any of these apply, you may benefit from more than two dental exams per year:
- You smoke, vape, or use tobacco
- You grind your teeth or have a TMJ disorder
- You drink moderately to heavily
- Your diet is high in sugar and/or other starches and you typically snack throughout the day
- Your teeth are crowded and difficult to clean between
- You don’t brush and floss regularly
- You have dry mouth as a side effect from a medication – Dry mouth is a serious concern because saliva protects the teeth and gums from the harmful effects of oral acids.
You’ve experienced tooth loss
If you’ve lost a tooth before, it’s important that you both restore the tooth and also monitor for risk factors that could lead to additional tooth loss. Dr. Baudean will work with you to establish a long-term treatment plan that protects your teeth and gums.
No matter how often you visit the dentist, we look forward to seeing you at every appointment! If you’re not working with a dentist that makes you feel comfortable, informed and in control of your oral health, it’s time to find someone new – schedule your first appointment with Dr. Baudean today.