Summary: Dentists recommend that you have a check up every six months so that any early decay can be spotted before it gets the chance to cause a lot of damage. The examination also makes sure that your gums are nice and healthy as in later years most teeth are lost to gum disease. It is still important to visit the dentist even if you wear dentures.
The importance of the dental exam?

It is important to attend a dentist on a regular basis as any potential problems will be identified early and appropriate action taken. Tooth decay can, if left untreated, cause the total loss of a tooth within a year. For this reason it is important to attend every 6 months but at a maximum once per year.

What will the dentist do at the examination?

Firstly they check your teeth for cavities and broken fillings or crowns. Dental decay may appear as a hole or sometimes as a dark shadow underneath the surface of the enamel. If there is a hole in a tooth the dentist may place a temporary filling to stop food accumulating in it.

The dentist will then check the gums and your general oral hygiene to ensure there are no problems there. They may use a special probe to test the depth of the pockets around your teeth in order to detect gum disease early.

Finally the soft tissues are checked for ulcerations or other lesions. The dentist may also check the jaws and associated muscles.

The dentist may then take radiographs if necessary. Usually two small radiographs of your back teeth are taken every two years or when you attend a new dentist. These show any hidden decay between the teeth and the level of the bone which may indict periodontal disease.

But I wear dentures, do I still need an exam?

Some full denture wearer's assume that because they have no teeth that they needn't see a dentist. With increasing age the chance of oral cancer's or other lesions forming within the mouth increases and it is therefore important for your dentist to check this. Dentures will also become loose with age due to the bone resorbing and may need replacing or the fitting surface relining.