Dental check-up: When, Why, and how often?


It is a common belief that you should go for dental checkups twice a year. When you are in doubt, this is a good thumb rule to follow. But when you want to find out how often you should go for dental checkups, you can consider your oral health, oral hygiene, and habits. Some people might need to go more often, while some may not require many checkups.

Your dentist will suggest when you should schedule your next dental checkup, depending on how good your oral health is. The time period might vary between 3 months to 2 years, based on how strong your gums and teeth are and how much you are at risk for future oral issues.


But why do you require a dental health checkup?

A dental checkup helps your dentist to check if you have any dental issues and assist in keeping your mouth healthy. If you leave your oral issues untreated, it will become difficult for you to treat them in the future. It is often best to deal with your problems as early as possible, prohibiting them altogether.


What can you expect during a dental health checkup?

At every dental health checkup, your dentist will

  • Inspect your teeth, mouth, gums, cheeks, palate, tongue, the floor of the tongue, soft palate, lips, sinus, facial profile, and parotid glands.
  • Ask about your health and any issues you have with your teeth, gums, cheeks, palate, tongue, the floor of the tongue, soft palate, lips, sinus, facial profile, and parotid glands and mouth after your last visit to the dental clinic.
  • Gives you suggestions about your diet, smoking cessation, stopping the use of alcohol, and other habits.
  • Make a discussion about the date for your next dental visit


A typical dental health checkup also includes the following activities:

  • Dental professionals who will treat you: Most likely, two professionals, a dentist, and a dental hygienist, will see you. The dental hygienist will carry out an oral exam of your gums, teeth, gums, cheeks, palate, tongue, the floor of the tongue, soft palate, lips, sinus, facial profile, and parotid glands and document any changes in your general health along with the use of medicine, cleaning and polishing your teeth, check for signs of oral cancer and another such disease, and analyze oral health issues and give recommendations for oral treatment.


  • Dental cleaning: Even though  brushing and flossing regularly can assist in removing dental plaque, only a professional dental cleaning done by your dentist helps clean your teeth and eliminate the hard plaque that builds up in your teeth. Dental hygienists mainly use metal hand instruments for cleaning your teeth, and some use ultrasonic scalers that offer deep cleaning, including space below your gum line.


  • Polishing: Once dental cleaning is done, it is polished to remove plaque and stains on the tooth's surface. Polish includes an abrasive substance and fluoride, which is applied using a small revolving rubber cup or brush attached to the dental handpiece.


  • Preventive measures: Your dentist might give you additional instructions for following at home, depending on the results of the dental examination. You can ask them for instructions on brushing, flossing, and other general care questions about teeth and gums.


  • Dental X-rays: X-rays may or may not be carried out during dental checkups. Your dentist considers the oral exam, oral history, and how much you are at risk for developing oral issues like cavities to decide whether you need a dental x-ray or not.
  • Dental treatment suggestions: If any oral issues are found during a dental examination, your dentist will recommend the best possible next steps. This can include reference to another oral healthcare specialist, extra diagnostic tests, or any suggestion to come back for any restoration work.


Now how often should you go for a dental health checkup?

After your regular dental health checkup, your dentist will tell you about the date for your next dental checkup. The time for your next checkup can be as short as 3 months to as long as 2 years. In general, the lower the risk of your dental issues, the longer you have to wait for your next dental checkup. So, people with good oral health must go for dental health checkups once every 12 – 24 months, but those with more issues will require more frequent checkups.

Some people might need more dental checkups and some people who need fewer checkups. It all depends on dental conditions and dental issues. 

While for maximum people twice a year, dental checkups work for some with the following conditions need more checkups:

  • Gum disease
  • Family history of plaque or cavities
  • A weak immune system 
  • Have gone through specific life events that have caused illness or stress.

On the other hand, people who take good care of their teeth and gums and have gone without any issues have to visit the dentist more often. It's best to ask your dental doctor which schedule will work best for your dental health. Select the best dentist for oral health in for your dental checkups.




About the Author:

Suprithi Choudhary, M.Pharm (Pharmacology) Medical Content writer

Suprithi is a Pharma Professional working as a medical content writer and previously worked as a Research Scientist and Senior Research Analyst


  • C.M Academy
  • Attended the Panjab University- Chandigarh, Pharma post-graduate in Pharmacology

Special thanks to Dr Deepak Kulkarni, a dental surgeon with over 23 years of experience who proofread this blog. He graduated from the H.K.E's Dental College, Gulbarga, and has certifications in ACHS International Accreditation Education Plan; Advanced Rotary Endodontic - Restorative Continuum; and Leadership, Team Building and Customer Service Leadership from the Oscar Murphy International.

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