6 Reasons to See a Dentist

Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
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Dental exam

Don't skip regular dental cleanings and don't avoid going to the dentist because you're afraid of a possible problem with your teeth. Regular checkups and cleanings can help stop dental health problems before they start.

If you have pain or another symptom, a dentist can help you treat the problem before it gets worse. Here are six reasons why you and others in your family should see a dentist.

1. Twice-yearly dental checkups can find problems in the early stages.

Most people should see a dentist twice a year for a dental checkup. At those visits, your dentist examines your teeth for problems and may take X-rays of your mouth. If you have early signs of a cavity, you may need a filling, sealant, or other treatment. Your dentist will look for other problems, such as gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss. Your dentist can suggest things you can do at home to keep your teeth healthy and stop any problems from getting worse.

2. Children's dental visits help establish a lifetime of healthy habits.

Once your child starts getting teeth, it's time to head to the dentist. A dentist can spot any problems, such as decay, early on. It's also important for children to gain experience working with a dentist for exams and cleanings. This helps them feel comfortable rather than afraid. Plus, a dentist can show you how to properly care for your child's teeth. Your child, your dentist, and you can start developing a good relationship that leads to a lifetime of healthy teeth.

3. Screenings for oral cancer can lead to early detection.

Dentists do more than check for cavities. They also look for early warning signs of oral cancer. Your dentist looks and feels inside your mouth to check for sores, bumps, or anything else that might indicate oral cancer. Early detection means a better chance to successfully treat the cancer.

4. Regular cleanings lead to a healthier mouth.

No matter how well you care for your teeth, a good professional cleaning by your dentist or your dentist's oral hygienist will keep your teeth healthier. The hygienist can remove stubborn plaque, reducing your risk for tooth decay. During the cleaning, the dentist or hygienist can also make recommendations on diet and dental care to keep your teeth cleaner and healthier.

5. Wisdom teeth exams can detect crowding and other problems.

Wisdom teeth are a third set of molars that usually erupt in a person's late teens or early twenties. They can cause problems with your other teeth, so your dentist monitors them. The dentist will look for signs your wisdom teeth are growing incorrectly and crowding your other teeth. He or she will also look for any bacteria that are stuck around your wisdom teeth. Your dentist may recommend you have surgery to remove impacted wisdom teeth if they cause problems.

6. Denture fittings will keep false teeth comfortable and functioning well.

If you lose your natural teeth, you may need a set of complete or partial dentures. Your dentist can provide you dentures and make sure they fit properly. If you have dentures, your dentist will need to check them regularly and make adjustments in the fit as your mouth changes. The dentist will check for any sores caused by poorly fitting dentures. Your dentist can also make sure you're properly cleaning and caring for your dentures.

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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2021 Feb 27
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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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