Yes, let’s start here. After all, it is dental work and it is the mainstay of maintaining good dental health. For more patients, regular cleanings means twice a year, once every 6 months. This is the period of time it typically takes for plaque and tartar buildup to reach a point where special tools are needed to keep it at bay. Some patients get buildup far more rapidly, so the coming in three times a year is a wise move. The problem is that most dental insurance plans only cover one to two cleanings per year. We get it, but if cost is not a major factor, consider getting your teeth cleaned every 4 months.
Dental exams which check for issues such as cavities or oral cancer are recommended with each cleaning, although X-rays are really only due once a year.
There are several ways to whiten your teeth, but when your dentist is offering a higher-grade level of whitening, the effect could easily last 3 years. This assumes the white-ee brushes regularly and avoids or limits teeth-staining foods like wine, coffee and berries. Most folks who need dentistry-level whitening have naturally discolored teeth or teeth that stain easily. In these cases, it’s perfectly fine to whiten your teeth once a year without causing any damage.
The longevity of fillings depends heavily on which type of material is being used. Metals like gold or amalgam (a mix of metals) can last a decade or even two. But less costly options and options that match your natural tooth coloring don’t hold up as long. If you take care of your teeth and assuming your teeth don’t suffer a trauma (fights, car accidents, sports injuries) most of the other filling options should last at least 5 years and potentially 7 to 10 years.
This procedure splits the difference between a filling and a veneer, sort of. Using a composite resin, your dentist fixes any gaps, cracks and discolorations in your teeth. Bondings can last a lifetime just receiving touch-ups here and there. But typically, you can expect at least 3-year to 10-year run.
Bridges are false teeth anchored in place by existing teeth, and when done right as well as taken care of, they can last up to 15 years.
Caps and Crowns
Similar to fillings, cap and crown longevity depends on the type of material used. Metals last decades, composites and ceramics last years. The other X factor is you. When you practice good oral hygiene and do regular cleanings, you’ll see your caps and crowns last far longer.
Digging into a tooth to clean it out and fill it back up doesn’t sound like a fun procedure to most dental patients. The good news is that with proper cleaning and nourishing of your root canaled tooth, the procedure may not ever need to be done again.
A good tooth-decay prevention procedure is to apply sealant to teeth that are sometimes harder to get to when brushing, such as molars. With proper care, patients can expect the sealant to hold up for a decade. Regular checkups to make sure the sealant is holding up is mission critical.
You know what can last a lifetime? Habits. The habit of brushing twice a day and flossing once a day will help you prevent the need for many of these procedures and protect the longevity and effectiveness of those procedures, too.