Seeing a dentist regularly will keep your teeth healthy and, with nearly 4,700 cases of mouth cancer every year, may even save your life.
Dr Gill Jenkins last medically reviewed this article in October 2010.
Why have a check-up?
Your dentist will give you a personal recommendation of how often you should have a check-up. Current guidelines recommend that for under-18s check-ups should be between three and 12 months, and for adults between three and 24 months.
- Ensure your teeth and gums are in good shape
- Allow the dentist to remove any plaque which contributes to cavities and gum disease
- Enable the dentist to spot serious health problems early when they can be treated successfully
- Enable you to learn how to brush and floss your teeth properly
- Build your confidence if you're nervous, as you'll get to know your dentist and know what to expect at each visit
Cost of Dental Treatment
Some people are entitled to free dental treatment. If you're not eligible, there are different levels of charges and if you have private dental treatment, you'll pay the full amount.
Sometimes there may be different treatment options, with different costs, can be discuss with you at your dental practice. Many dentists also run dental payment plans to spread the cost of your dental care.
The British Dental Association provides an online Find a Dentist service. Your GP practice may also have lists of local dentists.
Many people ask their neighbours or friends for a recommendation, which can be a good place to start. Once you've found a couple of dentists in your area, be sure to confirm that they're appropriately trained, registered with their governing body and insured.
Make your final decision once you've established what services they provide (for example, do they see children, is there a hygienist and do they provide the specific services you want?)
Many dental practices have a practice leaflet with details of the services they offer, including times for dental check-ups. This can help you determine if they're suitable for you.