How Often Should You Go to the Dentist? A Guide for Adults

This answer varies between each person. On average, an adult only needs to see the dentist once or twice a year. This rule of thumb is for adults who have good oral hygiene and generally don’t have problems with their teeth.

This is also typical for those with dental insurance. Most dental insurance only covers one or two dental cleanings a year. Those with healthy teeth and gums only see the dentist by what their insurance offers to save money.


A dental checkup once or twice a year is only the bare minimum. Other considerations call for more frequent dental cleanings. Here are a few examples.

Gum Disease

Periodontitis, commonly known as gum disease, is characterized by inflamed and bleeding gums, receded gums, changes in your teeth, and even bad breath and pus.

Gum disease has three stages: gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis.

Those with gum disease not only require more frequent dental visits but also need specific cleaning done.

This specialized cleaning will remove all of the plaque that has hardened into tartar. From here, you’ll have to attend regular dental appointments in order to prevent tartar buildup.

Each patient is different, but expect to see the dentist four times a year if you have gum disease.

You’re a Smoker

Tobacco affects your health negatively in a variety of ways. Cigarettes and chewing tobacco are also bad for your oral health.

Tobacco is a risk factor of periodontitis and even oral cancer.

Cigarettes can also leave ugly stains on your teeth. If you refuse to quit smoking cigarettes, you should at least visit your dentist more than recommended to ensure your oral health doesn’t decline.

You’re Pregnant

Your body changes in many ways during pregnancy. A common side effect of increase hormones is gum inflammation. If this is severe enough, you can develop gingivitis.

Even though you’re at risk for serious ailments, you should never see the dentist during your first trimester. Instead, make a dentist appointment during your third trimester. In addition, visit your dentist more frequently after your child is born.

You also can’t have specific services done while pregnant, such as x-rays.

You Have Diabetes

Those with diabetes are at greater risk for developing dental ailments such as fungal infections and gum disease. This means you’ll need to see your dentist more than usual and may need to see a specialist if your oral health deteriorates.

You Have Cancer

If you have cancer and are undergoing different treatments, some of the most common side effects affect your oral health. This can be as simple as dry mouth but you’re left more prone to oral infections.

It’s best to see a dentist before, during, and after your treatments. They can monitor your side effects and oral health to ensure your dental health isn’t declining.

What if you have oral cancer? This depends on the severity of your cancer.

You’re HIV-Positive

Not only HIV but also the treatments will also put you at higher risk for developing dental health ailments. This includes infections and even tooth decay.

This is why those who are HIV-positive need to see a dentist more frequently than others.

You Have Heart Disease

Dental health is linked to heart health.

If you have heart disease, there’s a chance there’s something wrong with your oral health. You definitely should see a dentist more frequently and you should always inform your dentist of any existing heart conditions.


Your typical checkup isn’t the only time you’ll see the dentist. You may need to get other services or treatments done. Here are a few examples.

Deep Cleaning

There are times when you’ll need a deep cleaning. You usually need this cleaning if you haven’t seen the dentist in a couple of years, you don’t properly care for your teeth, or if you’re just prone to build more plaque and tartar.

You’ll have to endure a deep cleaning and then a follow-up appointment after the cleaning. You may need to see the dentist more frequently than average if they feel it’s necessary.


If your dentist suspects something is wrong with your teeth, they may call for an x-ray. These x-rays show issues with your teeth or gums that your dentist can’t detect. X-rays also help identify any potential issues with your oral health early.

Some x-rays may be included in your normal dental checkup. Other specialized x-rays may require a separate visit.


Cavities are little holes that form in your teeth. This is caused by plaque. The plaque breaks down your tooth enamel, forming a hole. In order to prevent the infection from spreading, you need to get the cavity filled.

The filling needs to be done during a separate appointment. Your dentist may call you back in after the filling for a follow-up appointment.


We all know we need to see the dentist every year. But how often should you go to the dentist?

The average is once or twice a year, but that’s only if you have healthy teeth. Dental problems, lifestyle choices, and health conditions can cause you to visit the dentist more frequently.

In addition, certain services require more frequent visits.

Are you in Johnson City and need to see the dentist? Request an appointment!

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