Dental check-ups are recommended every 6 months, but there are some key times that we tend to see problems. Sometimes changes in circumstances and life stages can mean extra risk.
In the 20s, we often find people have left home or gone to uni and so Mum and Dad don’t bring them to the dentist anymore. They often neglect their oral health, so it is good to make a regular dental habit from the get-go, At this time, it is important to check the wisdom teeth which usually come through at 18-21, but if they are not through some x-rays, like an OPG, will check them. Otherwise, they can damage the teeth in front of them. Often, late 20s is when people start to think about how their smile is an important part of their appearance, so often we get enquires about teeth whitening or Invisalign orthodontics.
In the 30s, people are hitting their stride and hopefully are managing their own health. If somebody is finding they are getting frequent dental problems, it is important to get to the bottom of why. Perhaps lifestyle changes, such as diet or hygiene practices need to change. Perhaps there is a bad habit that they are unaware of is leading to repeated problems. Early signs of gum disease may be starting to show.
In the 40s, stress can be a big factor and so, checking the teeth, we will always look at whether grinding or clenching the teeth can be an issue. This may be a time where people start to need more major work, such as root canal treatment or crowns, which can be a bit of a financial shock. Finding problems early and keeping things healthy minimises this risk. This is a peak time for early gum disease. Undiagnosed, it can progress painlessly.
In the 50s, it is similar to the 40s in terms of restoration need, but often with less stress as kids are growing up and moving out. This can be a time when gum disease starts to become a bigger problem. Sleep apnoea may be a risk, particularly for men, and most dentists nowadays look for oral signs of it. Often subtle signs are picked up before there is a health problem.
In the 60s, planning for retirement can mean making sure to get more elaborate dental treatment done prior to retirement when income will reduce. Also, if work pays for private medical insurance, it is good to use it before it is gone.
In the 70s and 80s, it is important to maintain dental health as any major health events can make dental treatment difficult. Many people assume that if they have dentures, they don’t need to see a dentist, but they should still come to have a cancer screen at least every 2 years.