A check-up allows your dentist to see if you have any dental problems and helps you keep your mouth healthy. Leaving problems untreated could make them more difficult to treat in the future, so it's best to deal with problems early, or, if possible, prevent them altogether. Examine your teeth, gums and mouth. Ask about your general health and any problems you’ve had with your teeth, mouth or gums. Ask about, and give you advice on, your diet, smoking and alcohol use, teeth-cleaning and brushing habits. Discuss a date for your next visit. Dental check-ups are generally recommended every six months though it can be different for each individual depending on their oral health needs. After your check-up, your dentist will recommend a date for your next visit. The time to your next check-up could be as short as 3 months or as long as 2 years (or up to 1 year if you're under 18). Generally, the lower your risk of dental problems, the longer you can wait before your next check-up. So, people with good oral health will probably need to attend only once every 12 months, but those with more problems will need check-ups more often. At the first consultation, your dentist will want to find out about your health, both oral and general. The dentist needs to be aware of your medical background as it may impact the way that they treat and diagnose issues – diabetes, for example, can increase the risk of gum disease and may need different anesthesia. Certain medicines, meanwhile, can cause dry mouth, which can increase your risk of cavities. Importantly, all your medical information will be kept confidential. It’s also a good time to discuss any dental phobias – for some patients, fear of the dentist starts in childhood after a bad experience. The dentist will take this on board – in fact, just talking about these issues can actually help relieve them. After the first consultation, a full-check-up will take place, followed by a thorough treatment plan. Depending on your oral exam, dental history and any risk for developing cavities, a dental X-ray may be required. An X-ray can give the dentist a good view of your jaw alignment, any decay between teeth as well as identifying any impacted teeth, abscesses, or cysts on the roots of your teeth. After the examination, the dentist will discuss any treatment recommendations, covering everything from tooth brushing techniques to your diet and nutrition, alcohol intake, and smoking. If there are any complications, a return visit may be required for restoration work, such as a filling or crown. For more complex work, the dentist may need to refer you to a specialist such as an orthodontist, periodontist, oral surgeon or an endodontist.