As important as a trip to the dentist is, most of us may not find it a very enjoyable experience. Even if the overall experience is impeccable, the dentist is skilled, and the treatment is virtually painless, not many of us willingly go to the dentist unless we face a dental problem and an appointment is unavoidable.
It is a fact that most dental decay takes a long time. For example, if you have a small tooth cavity that can be treated with a filling, the time taken for that cavity to progress into a fully decayed tooth that requires root canal treatment may be months to years. But, it is also a fact that most patients visit dentists only when they have pain. And by that time it is usually too late to avoid root canal treatment.
So, the inference from all this is that the sooner you visit the dentist, the lesser the treatment required, and this in turn means that your dental costs would also be lesser.
But, when is the right time to visit a dentist? Let us find out
Dental Visit Every Six Months
The most accepted recommendation is that one should visit a dentist for a routine check-up once every six months. The best time to visit a dentist is usually when you feel you do not have symptoms or any problems with your teeth.
Early dental issues like small dental cavities, mild plaque and tartar formation or early gum disease usually do not have many symptoms, and hence the patient themselves cannot know that they may exist. Only the dentist, via a thorough oral examination, can diagnose these issues.
If these dental problems are caught early, the treatment itself is easier, cheaper and quicker. Hence, the best time to visit your dentist is once every six months, so that they can diagnose early and begin treatment.
When You Have Minor Dental Problems
Even though visiting your dentist once every six months is ideal, not many are able to regularly do so. Like we said at the beginning, many find it unnecessary to visit a dentist if they do not have an issue.
The next best time to visit the dentist is when you have a minor dental problem. Such a problem may not be causing you any pain or stress in your daily routine, but the fact that you’re feeling symptoms means that something is definitely up with your teeth. Examples of a minor issue can be excessive sensitivity to hot, cold or sweet foods, pain on biting, food lodgement between teeth, bad breath etc.
The thing with such dental problems is that many patients feel that since the issue is minor, it may go away on its own, or doesn’t require any dental intervention. But this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Minor dental problems like these, if not treated soon, can progress and cause more problems for you later on. So it is best to visit your dentist as soon as possible, even if you have a minor niggle in your teeth.
If You Have Severe Tooth Pain or Swelling
If you have excruciating pain or swelling in your mouth or on the side of your face, it is best that you visit your dentist as soon as possible. Drop everything else and make it a priority. Such symptoms may be a sign of severe infection, and should be taken care of immediately. It may be surprising, but the fear of dental treatment makes patients hesitant to go to the dentist even in such urgent situations.
Thus, make it a priority to visit your dentist in the above three situations. The first is, of course, ideal, but as they say: ‘better late than never’.
Do not skip on a dental visit by taking painkillers, as they may provide relief temporarily, but the root cause of your dental pain keeps progressing.