How Often Do General Dentists Typically See Patients for Regular Checkups?

For those who have gone years without seeing any general dentists, it may sound intimidating to get back into the swing of things. As an integral aspect of any dentist-patient relationship, the regular checkup allows for periodic examination of oral structures. From here, the dentist can determine how healthy the teeth and gums are and recommend the best course of action moving forward.

What happens during an initial consultation?

For all new patients, an initial appointment allows for both parties to become familiar with one another. During this consultation, the dentist establishes a basic personalized overview of the patient’s condition and develops a blueprint on how to move forward.

Introduction to staff

Upon entry, the patient signs in and fills out paperwork for the receptionist, providing all necessary medical information for easy access in the future. The insurance information provided here allows for streamlined billing. Once called back, the patient can meet the dental hygienist and general dentist in person.

First checkup

At first, the patient may only interact with the hygienist, touring the facility or going over relevant medical information such as current medications or allergies. Once this is taken care of, the patient can meet with the hygienist and the dentist for a teeth cleaning and examination. A final visit to the reception desk formally concludes the appointment. Most general dentists prefer to see their clients for basic checkups roughly twice a year.

What happens during subsequent checkups?

After the formalities of the initial consultation are dealt with, the patient can begin scheduling regular dental checkups. These appointments are intended to protect teeth from either decaying or falling out of alignment.

Examination

The dentist may begin proceedings by inspecting teeth and gums for problems, such as severe swelling or sensitivity, plaque buildup or signs of gum disease. Most of the time, a metal probe and angled mirror are sufficient to do this, but the dentist may periodically order dental X-rays to obtain more reliable information. These X-rays scan the patient’s jaws, gum line and teeth in order to give the dentist insight into any underlying problems. If anything comes up in these examinations that needs to be addressed, the dentist will inform the client of any further steps that should to be taken.

Teeth cleaning

If there is nothing to address, the dentist and an assistant work together to clean and polish the patient’s teeth. Using a metal pick, the dentist scrapes off any built-up plaque and food. The assistant then uses a small vacuum hose to remove this accumulation via suction. This removal of plaque prevents the decay of teeth and gums. After teeth have been cleaned, they are polished to be made smoother and less susceptible to future plaque buildup.

Conclusion

Taking care of one's teeth is essential to an individual's long-term health. Visits to general dentists should be scheduled approximately every six months in order to prevent harmful plaque buildup and to effectively monitor all mouth structures.

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