How often do you need a dental exam?

We advise our Northridge & Woodland Hills patients to visit the dentist regularly to keep their oral health in optimal shape. With that said, how much time you should wait in between appointments will vary depending on your unique risk factors. For example, for the general population, we recommend visiting the dentist every six months. This is our recommendation even if you practice optimal oral hygiene at home, because we can clean areas you can’t reach and diagnose problems you can’t see.

With that said, there are some groups of people who should visit the dentist more frequently, or every three to four months. They include smokers, pregnant women, diabetics, individuals with current gum disease and people who are at an increased risk for cavities.

What to expect during your dental exam

At Northridge.Dental, we strive to make our dental exams as comfortable as possible for our Northridge patients. As such, you can look forward to a pleasant experience with very minimal – if any – discomfort. During your visit, our highly skilled and knowledgeable team will:

  • Look for signs of periodontal disease. During this portion of the appointment, we will carefully examine your gums to look for puffy areas, signs of bleeding, tooth infection, bad breath and any other signs that may indicate gum disease.
  • Screen for oral cancer. We will then examine your mouth to look for signs of oral cancer. This screening will be performed at every appointment, so we can address any problems in the early stages, when they are the most treatable.
  • Evaluate current restorations. From there, we will evaluate the state of your current restorations, such as your fillings, veneers, crowns, implants and bridges. Because these structures are subject to wear and tear, we can identify potential problems before they become severe and you lose a filling or a veneer chips.
  • Identify tooth decay and cavities. The sooner we spot tooth decay, the better the treatment outcome. When teeth continue to decay without timely intervention, they can become severely infected. If the problem progresses, you will end up needing an extensive corrective treatment, and you may even run the risk of losing the tooth altogether. Routine dental exams allow us to identify cavities early and prevent these complications from occurring.

Discussing your treatment and preventative options

Once your dental examination is complete, we will discuss your treatment options depending on the results of your appointment. For example, if we found decay, we may advise that a filling is necessary to prevent the damage from progressing. If we diagnosed periodontal disease, we may recommend laser therapy to remove the inflamed tissue. And if no issues were discovered, but we determined that you are at a high risk for cavities, we may recommend placing a sealant to prevent debris from accumulating in the area. Once we’ve discussed the treatments we recommend, we will then counsel you on caring for your teeth and gums moving forward, so you can preserve your oral health and prevent any dental issues from developing in the future.