It's typically recommended that adults see a dentist every year, if not even more often, depending on their overall health and any increased risks they might have for gum disease, oral cancer and the like. However, if you're like most adults, you'd rather not see the dentist at all! You might also assume that taking good care of your teeth is all that's needed to protect them against cavities and other such damage. While your own oral care routine is important for healthy teeth and gums, note why you also want to see a dentist on a regular basis, no matter how often you brush and floss.
Even if you examine your own mouth in the mirror every day, you still want a dentist to check for signs of developing diseases, as you might miss symptoms of very serious conditions in the mouth. For instance, you might assume that white spots in your mouth are canker sores when they're really the first signs of oral cancer, or you might overlook spots in the throat or along the tonsils.
You also may not realize that redness in the mouth is gum disease or that your bad breath is because of an oral infection. Since your dentist knows what to look for and can perform a thorough examination of your mouth and throat, you want to keep your regular appointments with him or her to ensure developing conditions are diagnosed as soon as possible.
You may assume that only teenagers need to see an orthodontist in order to get their teeth straightened, but a person's mouth and jaw change shape as they age. If you begin to suffer bone loss for any reason, this may accelerate that change! In turn, your teeth may begin to shift out of position; your front teeth may begin to protrude, or your teeth may begin to get crowded so that one tooth in particular is pushed out of alignment.
Crooked teeth can rub up against the inside of your mouth or along the gum lines, causing irritation and broken skin. Teeth also rest against each other for support, so a crooked tooth may be at more risk of cracking or chipping. If this change in your teeth's alignment becomes very pronounced, your dentist may want to recommend that you visit an orthodontist to be fitted with an appliance to realign your teeth. To ensure this is done as needed, don't put off visiting the dentist, especially as you get older.