A general check up (every 6-12 months) ensures your dentist detects any problems in their early stages, before they become more severe.
Your dentist can suggest prevention strategies or treatment. Treatment in the early stages is generally easier and much cheaper. In addition to assessing your tooth and gum health, your dentist may take x-rays to assess the dental pulp and roots of your teeth and look for any early signs of oral diseases that can affect your general health.
During your check up your dentist may recommend a professional clean. This will remove calculus (tartar, calcified plaque) that has built up on your teeth. Not removing calculus provides ideal conditions for bacteria to grow between your teeth and gums and this can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.