Prevention is Key - Routine dental exams twice per year
The best way to maintain a healthy mouth and to save money on dental care is to have routine comprehensive dental exams. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that adults and children have a dental exam approximately every six months.
What is done in a routine dental exam?
At a routine exam (dental checkup) we examine the outside of your mouth (including the TMJ or jaw joint), and the inside of your mouth. We check to make sure that the tissues in your mouth are healthy, and we examine your gums to check for gum disease and/or periodontal disease. And of course, we check your teeth to make sure that all of your existing crowns and fillings are intact, and to make sure that you don't have any new cavities present. And as part of our intraoral exam, we perform an oral cancer screening.
Do I need x-rays at every visit?
Generally speaking, no. We do take a full set of x-rays the first time you see us as a patient, and after that we recommend a full set every 3-5 years. And although the levels of radiation used in dental x-rays are incredibly low (we use digital x-rays for the lowest exposure possible), we do need to take routine check-up x-rays when indicated.
Patients who have a history of extensive decay, or with conditions that can lead to decay such as dry mouth (xerostomia), often need x-rays more frequently than patients who have never had a cavity, and who have normal flow of saliva.