How Often Should I Have a Dental Exam?


In my Capitol Hill DC cosmetic and restorative dentistry practice, patients  frequently ask how often they should have an exam. My answer? “It depends.” Everyone has unique needs when it comes to dental treatment. Some people need to schedule a dental exam once or twice a year; others may require more visits.

Dental treatment is not based on a one-size-fits-all model. Dentists and hygienists know that each patient needs an individualized plan to maintain healthy teeth and an attractive smile. A schedule of dental exams twice a year works well for most people who have average teeth. A few people can get away with fewer visits whereas others need to go more often. Your dentist can check for problems that you may not see or feel, such as gum disease and oral cancer.

Who Needs More Frequent Visits?

There are some health and lifestyle related conditions that warrant visits more often that every six months. Your dentist might recommend regular exams every three or four months if any of these apply to you:


  • A diet that is rich in sugary foods or drinks
  • Ongoing gingivitis or other periodontal problems 
  • Use medications that cause dry mouth
  • Have overlapping teeth that are tough to clean
  • Smoke or use tobacco
  • Have a systemic disease such as diabetes
  • Are prone to cavities or the build-up of plaque

Who Needs Less Frequent Visits?

Even if you take excellent care of your teeth at home, you still need to see your dentist regularly. A few individuals can get by with once a year dental exams. These include people who:

  • Are young and healthy without little risk of cavities or gum disease
  • Practice excellent dental hygiene with daily brushing and flossing
  • Eat a healthy diet without sugary foods and beverages

Always consult with your dentist to determine the schedule that is appropriate for you. For my patients, I recommend a dental exam and professional cleaning every six months

Remember, beautiful teeth are healthy teeth!

Dr. Nishan Halim

Nishan Halim, DMD specializes in adult and pediatric restorative and cosmetic dentistry, as well as preventative dentistry, which is at the heart of this Capitol Hill, Washington DC neighborhood dental center.  If you have questions about gum disease, contact Dr. Halim to schedule an appointment. Find out how he can help you maintain your healthy smile.


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