The American Dental Association recommends you see your dentist at least twice each year for a checkup. At your checkup, the doctor will inspect your soft tissues for oral cancer, periodontal disease and other problems. The dentist will also look at each tooth in your mouth to assess problems like tooth decay or cracks, as well as old dental work. Sometimes old dental work wears out and needs to be replaced.
By looking for trouble every six months, your dentist can often reduce your potential for large dental problems. For instance, left untreated, a small cavity can grow to destroy an entire tooth and spread to surrounding teeth. A cracked tooth can cause pain or break off and create additional problems. Furthermore, conditions like advanced gum disease (the primary cause of tooth loss for American adults) and oral cancer (which causes more than 7,500 deaths each year) can be diagnosed during a visit to the dentist. Caught and treated early, these diseases can be controlled.
If you are wondering whether it’s time to start bringing your children to the dentist – chances are it’s time. Children as young as two should visit the dentist, and by age four or five, a child should attend regular checkups.