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How Often You Should Get a Dental Checkup

It's recommended to get a dental checkup every 6 months or twice a year so you can catch problems early and get your dental cleaning at the same time. If you have insurance, they will usually cover biannual dental checkups so you might as well use the benefits.


canker sore on lip noted during checkup
canker sore on lip noted during checkup

However, depending on your oral status, some individuals may benefit from more frequent dental checkups. Then on the opposite end of the spectrum, there are also individuals who could do with just a single dental checkup per year.


Dental insurance covers two checkups per year

One of the strongest arguments for getting a checkup with your dentist twice a year is because insurance typically covers it. That's right, your insurance will cover two oral examinations per year or every 6 months.


For most insurance plans that our office has seen, the checkup is covered at 100% meaning there will be no copay. In other words, there is no out of pocket expense for you to see your dentist twice a year.


Therefore if you have insurance you may as well take full advantage of the benefit since you're paying for the monthly premiums anyway.


Exception: We have personally seen some insurances cover 3 or even 4 exams per year. If that is you, consider yourself one of the lucky ones in having better coverage.


When you'd need more frequent dental checkups

Individuals who are at high risk for oral diseases or are simply more prone to them due to negligent oral care, will benefit from more frequent dental checkups.


easily bleeding gums from gum disease
easily bleeding gums from gum disease

Who would benefit from more frequent checkups:

  • Prone to cavities. If you find yourself with new cavities at every check up appointment, you are certainly at higher risk for tooth decay.

  • Chronic periodontal disease. Those with active periodontal disease need to have their teeth cleaned (perio maintenance) every 3-4 months. Once the gum disease has stabilized, they can return to 6 month check ups.

  • History of extensive dental work. Individuals with a lot of fillings, crowns, veneers, or other types of dental work should get more frequent check ups to protect their work. After all, dental care can be costly.


x-ray of mouth full of implants
x-ray of mouth full of implants

Of course, negligent patients should also consider seeing the dentist more often. As an example, if you know that you don't brush or floss consistently, perhaps a closer eye on your oral health is warranted.


When you don't need as many dental checkups

Those fortunate enough to be at low risk for cavities and periodontal disease may only need a single dental checkup per year. If that is you, consider yourself lucky and one of the few who can do this.


However, in our experience those who can do with less often dentist visits will typically brush/floss like a mad man. In other words, they are very on top of their oral hygiene.


Then again, since they seem to care that much about their oral health, they do tend to want to get their teeth cleaned twice a year because they like it. It is also safer to err on the side of being extra cautious rather than living life on the edge.


ADA recommendation

The recommendation by the ADA is to just see the dentist "regularly" for the prevention and treatment of various oral diseases.


ADA home oral care recommendations
ADA home oral care recommendations

In other words, the ADA actually recommends that you base your dentist visiting frequency based on your personal risk or unique needs.


Our Recommendation

Our dentists in Long island City recommend that you get two dental checkups per year since most insurances cover it. Patients who come routinely enjoy the feeling of tartar free teeth and they often have less oral diseases because they seem to care more about their teeth.


Even if you are at low risk for cavities, we do not recommend a checkup just once a year because the calculus buildup on teeth can be significant over 12 months. Please contact our office if you are in need of an oral examination.

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About the author: Dr David Chen, DDS

Hello, I'm Dr Chen and I'm an actively practicing dentist in Long Island City, NY. I graduated from Columbia University College of Dental Medicine in 2016 but prior to going to dental school I was already working in the dental field. It's been more than a decade since I first got to know dentistry and let me tell you, time flies by quickly. Since then I've developed a fondness for writing, which is how this all got started!

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Medical Disclaimer:

This blog is purely meant for information purposes and should not be used as medical advice. Each situation in your mouth is unique and complex. It is not possible to give advice nor diagnose any oral conditions based on text nor virtual consultations. The best thing to do is to go in person to see your dentist for an examination and consultation so that you can receive the best care possible.

The purpose of all of this oral health information is to encourage you to see your dentist and to inform you of what you may expect during your visit. Due to the unfortunate nature of dentistry, there isn't really any true home remedies that will get rid of dental problems. Roughly 99.99% of them require in-person intervention by a healthcare professional.

Hint: That is the reason why you can't eliminate seeing dentists in your life!

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