6 Monthly Dental Check Up – A Myth or Science?
Have you tried googling how often should you visit the dentist? The answer on Google varies. The most common answer is that you should visit your dentist every 6 months.
Many dentists would admit 6 months was not a number postulated from clinical studies or researches but one of historical convenience.
6 monthly dental check up does make sense because for the average person that’s the time taken for teeth eating bacteria (streptococcus mutans) and jaw bone eating bacteria (A. actinomycetemcomitans, P. gingivalis, P. intermedia etc) to create nuisance in the mouth. During the check up, we will be checking the teeth for decay, leakage around existing restorations or crack lines and gum for gum inflammation.
Dental check up is similar to the concept of sending a car for regular servicing. Some parts of the automobile would show signs of wear and tear and most often the car is still functional despite the wear and tear. There are some occasions when the severe wear and tear could compromise the safety of the driver and passengers, so it is still a good practice to send your car for regular servicing. Of course, there are people who have never send their automobile to any forms of servicing for years and have not experienced any functional issue… yet.
In our dental clinic, during the check up we will update you the condition of your teeth and gum and the general health of the oral cavity. More often than not, most of us will have areas that we are not brushing well enough and certain areas where we may need to keep a watchful eye to prevent losing the tooth and this is also the time we will inform you and share tips on how to clean those individual blindspots.
Most often, during the visit we will be doing the routine scaling and polishing (cleaning) to remove plaque that contain teeth eating and jaw bone eating bacteria and also calculus (hardened plaque) that requires removal with a special machine (ultrasonic scaler) and remove unsightly stains.
At some circumstances, we may need to see you more often or less often. Patients with very poor oral hygiene or having high risk factors may be required to be seen 3-4 monthly or patients with very good oral hygiene and low risk factors can be seen 9-12 monthly. Ironic is that most of the low risk patients with good oral hygiene will still prefer to be seen every 6 monthly to ensure everything is in tip top conditions.