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Do you need to attend the dentist every 6 months?

I recently read a study carried out by  medics from the University of Dundee which found that it may not be necessary for adults  to attend the dentist every 6 months.

However, the study did stress that this was not applicable for children or those requiring emergency care. With the current pandemic and dental appointments being put on hold, this study may provide relief for some.

Dental check-up

A dental check-up is primarily focused on the mouth and teeth, and your dentist will be able to see if you have any dental problems. However, there are a number of other health issues which can be identified in a dental examination.

When attending your dentist for a check up, the dentist will normally:

  • Examine your teeth, gums and mouth
  • Enquire about any problems or symptoms you may have had since your last visit
  • Provide advice about oral hygiene, and smoking and alcohol use.

Dental check-ups are important, as if you do not attend the dentist, then problems can develop, which can mean you require costly remedial treatment. It can also mean, that the dental issue is a lot more difficult to treat.

Many people will attend their dentist every 6 months for a check up. However, dental check ups have largely been put on hold since the coronavirus restrictions have been in place. Therefore, a lot of people were unable to attend their dentist for a routine check up. As such, this study may provide reassurance for those who have not been able to attend the dentist for a check up, during this time.

The study found “there was little to no difference” in the oral health of adults who had an appointment every 6, 12 or 24 months, or on an as-needed basis.

Summary

Whilst this study may provide reassurance for some, it all depends on a person’s dentition as to how regularly they will need to attend. If you are in any doubt about how often you should attend, then this should be discussed with your dentist.

The NHS provides guidance which advises that some people with good oral health will probably need to attend only once every 12 to 24 months, but those with more problems will need check-ups more regularly. However, please be aware this advice is only in relation to routine check-ups and if you are undergoing dental treatment, then you are likely to need additional attendances.

Fortunately, most dental practices are now starting to offer routine procedures again and hopefully this will mean that more people can attend their dentist or have the opportunity to discuss their needs and a suitable recall period.

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