Do I Need To Go To the Dentist?
You’re really busy. You barely have a minute to breathe, and when you do, going to the dentist doesn’t exactly top your list of fun activities. Plus, nothing seems horribly wrong with your mouth. Nothing hurts, and you can chew fine. So you can skip the dentist, right?
You’re on a dental website, so you probably already guessed the answer is, “No!” Most people should visit the dentist every six months (or twice a year) for a checkup and cleaning. For individuals who have had treatment for gum disease (periodontitis) in the past, you should visit the dentist even more frequently to keep this chronic disease under control. Even if you take really good care of your teeth and gums on your own, it’s still important for you to see the dentist regularly.
After all, one-third of Americans have untreated tooth decay, and more than half of Americans have gingivitis, which can develop into gum disease (periodontitis). Dental pain is not a good indication of whether or not there is a problem - small problems almost never hurt. By the time a dental issue reveals itself -- by the time you’re clutching your jaw and howling in pain -- it’s escalated to an expensive problem. Regular dental visits help us catch problems like gum disease and cavities before they get painful and require major fixes.
Seeing your dentist twice a year helps to prevent painful dental complications further down the road, and can also benefit your overall health. Mouth Healthy says that some major medical conditions or diseases have symptoms that appear in the mouth. Gum disease is considered a complication of diabetes, and treating gum disease can help diabetics maintain better control of their diabetes. Dentists are often the first healthcare professionals to detect early signs of oral cancer. Many medications that are commonly prescribed can affect the mouth, teeth, and gums, as can major medical treatments (like chemotherapy and radiation therapy) - and some can have significant, lasting impacts on your oral health and even your ability to receive certain dental treatments now and in the future. There are so many reasons to have a regular dental check up (and to share with your dentist what is going on with your overall health and medications)!
People who are high-risk may need to visit the dentist even more than twice a year. How do you know if you’re in the high-risk group? Colgate advises that if you answer yes to any of the following questions, you’re high-risk:
Do you smoke?
Do you have diabetes?
Do you have gum disease?
Do you tend to get cavities or build plaque easily?
Do you have a weak immune response to bacterial infection?
Have you had treatment for head and neck cancer in the past?
Even if you aren’t in the high-risk group, you should still see a dentist regularly. Here are some more signs that it’s time to go to the dentist:
Your gums bleed when you brush or floss
You have a sore in your mouth that isn’t going away
You have a chipped or broken tooth, or a tooth with a hole in it (even if it doesn’t hurt...yet)
You are about to start (or are currently undergoing) medical treatments like chemotherapy, radiation, hormone replacement therapy, or medication to increase bone density
It’s hard for you to chew food effectively
You have swelling or pain in your neck, face, or mouth
You are pregnant
You always have bad breath or a yucky taste in your mouth
You don’t like the way your teeth look when you smile
You have a loose tooth (and you’re an adult)
Your teeth are extra sensitive to hot or cold temperatures
If you want to have a smile you can be proud of, take care of your teeth! Make sure to schedule dental appointments every six months. Contact us to make an appointment today!
Do you go to the dentist twice a year? If not, what’s your excuse?