You may be expecting a simple answer such as that you should have your teeth checked every six months, or once a year, or something like that. These days many dentists are overwhelmed with the volume of patients they have to treat (because there are fewer people willing to undergo the lengthy and difficult training required to become a dentist) and they may even try to discourage you from having more frequent check ups.
The truth is that the answer very much depends on your individual dental condition. If your teeth and gums are perfectly healthy, then every six months or even less often should be fine. In fact, in those circumstances, visiting your dentist more often is not a good idea.
Apart from the obvious factor of cost to you or your insurer, having dental check ups more frequently than you need could place more strain on the already over-stretched schedule of the dentist, and will subject your teeth and gums to extra stress. Yes, you read that correctly. Inspecting and professionally cleaning your teeth is actually a heavy-duty procedure that can be sometimes detrimental if performed too frequently.
Having said all that, however, it must be acknowledged that very few people have teeth and gums in perfect condition. It may take many visits to the dentist before your mouth is in such a good state of health that you could afford to have check ups spaced six months or more apart.
This is particularly true if you have any degree of gum disease. Properly known as gingivitis, gum disease is noticeable as swelling and inflammation of the gums. It is often quite painful due to the swelling, and sometimes causes bleeding in the mouth. If you have this condition, you will almost certainly know about it. When you do have it, you may need to have more frequent dental check ups and professional cleaning in order to get the problem under control.
So really the answer to how often you should get your teeth checked is however often your dentist recommends that you should. You should not worry that they are recommending this to you out of self-interest. Most dentists don’t have to worry one bit about finding extra work, and you can be sure most are also too professional to resort to any kind of trickery. Be confident in the fact that any advice your dentist offers is out of concern for your well-being.
Another good reason for keeping to a regular check up schedule, even if your teeth and gums seem quite healthy already, is that it will allow your dentist the opportunity to identify any potential problems before they take hold and become serious. This can save you money as well as a lot of pain and discomfort that would result if the condition were to go undetected until symptoms appeared.
Sometimes very minor amounts of damage will take quite some time before they create any noticeable change in sensation or appearance, but a thorough dental examination will reveal these problems so they can be appropriately treated as a preventative measure.