When it comes to the things you love, usually a dental visit isn't one of the first things you would think of. But many studies show that people who pay a dental visit at least once a year are happier with their smile and are less likely to need a filling or have a tooth removed. You may want to re-evaluate your thoughts and perhaps give your dentist a little more love.
Why do people need a dental clean?
A professional dental clean removes plaque, calculus (hardened plaque), and the soft yellowish build-up which you can't get rid of by brushing your teeth.
The soft build-up is made from billions of different bacteria that live and reproduce in your mouth by feeding on the food you eat. When certain bacteria grow in numbers, they can cause cavities (holes in the teeth) or gum disease.
A dental clean can reduce your chance of developing cavities or gum disease by significantly reducing the amount of plaque and the soft build-up in your mouth.
How often should people pay a dental visit?
If you are a healthy person who is less likely to get dental cavities or gum disease, you can visit your dentist annually. But people who are at a higher risk of dental problems should get their teeth cleaned more often.
How do I know if I'm at a higher risk?
Ask yourself the following questions and see whether you're at a higher risk of getting dental problems:
1. Is your drinking water or toothpaste fluoride-free?
2. Do you avoid flossing?
3. Do you brush your teeth less than twice a day?
4. Do you have a chronic health condition such as diabetes?
5. Do you have a dry mouth?
6. Do you have a lot of early cavities?
7. Do you have a lot of snack, including sweets?
8. Do you have to wear an appliance in your mouth such as a denture or braces?
9. Do you need new fillings every time you visit your dentist?
10. Do you visit your dentist for toothaches rather than check-ups?
If you answer more "yes" to the above questions, then you may need to visit your dentist at least every six months.
Your dentist may remove your plaque and calculus and give you a fluoride treatment. Evidence shows that a professional fluoride treatment every six months can lead to a 30% reduced risk of developing cavities, needing fillings or having teeth removed.
Why is dental health so important?
In fact, your dental health is related to your overall health. Some specific groups of people need to visit their dentists more frequently, including:
—People who have chronic health issues such as heart conditions or diabetes. These people have higher risks of developing gum disease.
—People who take blood thinners and other medications such as pills and infusions for osteoporosis. These medications may increase your risk of developing dental problems.
—People who have bleeding gums. Paying a visit to your dentist more regularly is especially important if you have advanced gum disease, known as periodontal disease. If not properly treated, periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss.
What about the budget?
Basic dental exams cost $50-200.
If it is your first visit, you're likely to need an X-ray and/or a cleaning. If you need to take an exam due to a problem, you're also likely to need an X-ray and/or other analysis techniques. An X-ray can cost $25-250 and a basic cleaning can cost $75-200.
If you qualify for Medicaid, Medicaid provides comprehensive dental coverage for children in all states via the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment (EPSDT) benefit. Coverage for adults varies from state to state. You may do some research to find out what is offered in your state.
If you want a dental insurance, basic dental insurance usually includes two exams, two cleanings, and a set of x-rays every year. Most plans focus on preventative care, with annual maximums of $1000 or $1,500.
So yes, re-evaluate your thoughts about your dentist and share some love with him or her. A regular dental check and clean can help you reduce the chance of more complex and expensive dental treatment. Last but not least, your dentist can make you happier with your smile.