How Often Should You Have a Dental Examination?

Approximately 25.9% of adults have untreated decay in their mouths. Some people have this issue because they don’t go to the dentist regularly. 

If you visit a dentist regularly, you can prevent cavities and other major oral problems. How often should you go, though? 

If you’re wondering how often you should go to the dentist for a dental examination, we’ve got you covered. Continue reading this guide to learn more about the frequency of regular dental visits. 

The Purposes of a Dental Examination

Dental examinations are the most common service in preventative dentistry. Preventative dentistry is a branch of dentistry that focuses on helping people keep their teeth healthy. It’s also designed to help people prevent problems.

When you visit a general dentist for an exam, they will complete various steps to achieve several goals, including the following:

  • To examine your teeth in a way that is thorough and comprehensive
  • To find problems with your teeth, gums, or mouth
  • To recommend treatments for the issues they find
  • To teach you how to provide more care for your teeth and mouth

When dentists perform exams, they will aim to achieve these goals to help you have a healthier mouth. If you attend all your regular dental exams, you might experience fewer problems with your teeth. 

You will likely have a healthier mouth, too. Your dentist can help you learn better brushing skills, and they can even recommend the best toothpaste and toothbrush to use. 

By following these recommendations, you’ll have a healthier mouth. 

The Steps Completed at an Exam

So, what happens at a dental examination? If you’ve been to one recently, you probably know. If you haven’t had one in a while, you might want to brush up on the steps that dentists take during exams. 

Here are some of the main steps you can expect during your exam:

Physical Examination of Your Teeth

One thing you can expect your dentist to do is to look closely inside your mouth. They will examine each tooth and look at your gums. The goal is to find any issues that are visible to the eye.

Your dentist might spot some decay on a tooth while examining your mouth. They might also find other issues, such as signs of gum disease. 


You can also expect your dentist to take x-rays of your teeth at least once a year. If you attend multiple dental exams each year, you will only need this completed once a year. 

X-rays show your dentist things they can’t see with their eyes, such as hidden decay or infections in your tooth roots. 

Teeth Cleaning

An exam also includes a thorough cleaning of your teeth. A dental hygienist might complete this step while you’re there, and it might take around 30 minutes or so.

During it, they will scrape the plaque off your teeth and polish your teeth with special equipment and toothpaste.

Fluoride Treatment 

You can also expect them to complete a fluoride treatment. For this, they will place a polish on your  teeth or use foam. Fluoride strengthens your tooth enamel, helping your teeth fight decay.

Diagnosis and Recommendations

Finally, the dentist will tell you the findings. If they didn’t find anything wrong, they’ll let you know. 

If they find issues, they’ll tell you what they are and the treatment they recommend to fix the issues. 

Your dentist might also complete a cancer screening and measure your gum lines during a typical examination. 

The Frequency of Visits

Now that you understand the purposes of dental exams and the steps completed at one, you might be wondering how often you need to go to the dentist for exams. 

Most dentists recommend going for a dental visit every six months. Going every six months is the perfect amount of time for most people.

When you make a habit of going every six months, you’ll avoid problems with your teeth, and you’ll have stronger teeth. 

If you have problems with your teeth that require treatment, you’ll have to attend additional visits to fix the issues. 

Situations That Require More Frequent Visits

There are times when dentists recommend scheduling visits more frequently than six months for the proper upkeep of your teeth and mouth.

One example of a situation that requires more frequent visits is a person living with gum disease. If you have gum disease, removing the plaque from your teeth is vital, which means you might have to go more often. 

Secondly, if you have other chronic issues with your mouth, you might also need to go more often.

People in high-risk groups might also benefit by attending more frequent dental visits. For example, if you’re a smoker, your dentist might tell you to come for visits every three months. 

Finally, if you’re pregnant, you might be at a higher risk for developing gingivitis and other oral issues. As a result, you’ll need to attend dental exams more often during this time. 

Benefits of Regular Visits

You can ask your dentist how often you should visit them for exams. Most likely, they’ll tell you to schedule them every six months. If you keep up with these visits, you’ll benefit in several ways. 

Here are some of the main benefits you might experience:

  • Your teeth might last longer
  • You’ll spend less money on dental treatments
  • You’ll save time by not needing additional dental treatments
  • You’ll learn how to properly care for your teeth to prevent problems
  • You’ll go through less pain by avoiding dental procedures

If you skip regular dental visits, you’ll miss out on these outstanding benefits. 

Schedule a Visit Today

If you are past due on your dental visits, you might want to consider scheduling a dental examination today. As you see, visiting the dentist on a routine basis is vital for your oral health.

If you’re in the Lexington area, contact Justice Dental to schedule an appointment for a dental exam today.