A visit to the dentist isn’t everyone’s favourite way of passing 15 minutes, but skipping your regular dental check-up could do more harm than you realise.

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Whether you're kept away by a fear of the dentist's chair or if you simply can't find the time, a regular dental check-up really shouldn't be neglected.

Here are the basics on your dental check-ups, why you should have them and what to expect.

Why do you need dental check-ups?

Dr Adam Bodnar, dental expert at MDental Clinic (Hungary) and MEDIGO explains: “Dental check-ups allow any potential problems to be spotted early on and make it easy to maintain overall dental health. Regular check-ups can mean the difference between a routine filling and a multiple root canal treatment, which can be uncomfortable and will take a lot longer.

“Also, your dentist can provide constructive feedback on oral hygiene, from advising on which products to use to pointing out foods to avoid.”

How often should you visit the dentist?

Even if your teeth aren’t hurting and you’re not in pain, you should still visit your dentist for a regular check-up – around every six months to a year.

“It is important to remember that even if your teeth aren’t hurting and there isn’t anything visibly wrong, there could be an underlying issue that can only be seen via X-rays,” says Dr Bodnar.

“For example, you might not know that a wisdom tooth needs taking out before it hits a nerve. But regular X-rays can give you all the information you need, so you can avoid needing to book an emergency appointment.

“How often you should have dental check-ups is shaped by the following factors: how strong your teeth are, how good your overall health is and how rigorous you are about maintaining good oral hygiene.”

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What happens during a dental check-up?

A typical first-time check-up will involve a dentist taking some X-rays of your teeth to make sure the teeth are healthy and there aren’t any underlying gum problems. The dentist will then typically examine your teeth for signs of decay and your gums for any signs of swelling. They will also check how your teeth align, looking out for any signs of tooth grinding.