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When Should I go to a Dentist?

If one is experiencing pain or swelling in the mouth, one needs to be aware of risk factors and the symptoms to come to an informed conclusion. However, asking when to go to the dentist often follows physical motivators like tooth pain or gum swelling, much to many dentists’ dismay. Determining when to receive a dental exam while experiencing concerning symptoms should not be the standard, but rather something to avoid. Many dental practices agree that a checkup at least once a year is sufficient, but once every six months is ideal. According to a 2015 household survey by the American Dental Association, each year, more than half of adults say they are planning to get a checkup, but the actual results report that less than half actually do so.

In truth, the reason why people are not living up to the dentists’ standard is more nuanced than it may seem. The NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) is a part of the US’s National Library of Medicine. They also believe one should visit the dentist at least once a year. Elizabeth Kay, a professor of dental health services research and contributor to the official NCBI’s online archives, refers to a Child Dental Health Survey conducted in the United Kingdom. Keeping in mind that the UK provides free healthcare, the survey concluded that for children, seeing a dentist at a six-month interval while in an asymptomatic state versus children who attend when there is an issue had fewer dental issues. Children who didn’t receive check ups regularly had more decayed teeth and fillings. It is generally recommended by dentists that children get their first oral exam by the age of one, or when their first tooth comes in. Dentists would then advise the parents on how to care for their child’s early tooth. Proactive examinations are a big factor in lifelong oral health.

Ms. Kay also notes that anyone seeing a doctor at least once a year is seemingly a part of a larger issue of class and access to resources. It seems that people who were more likely to receive routine dental care were of a higher economic class compared to those who did not. Overall, one can conclude from the survey that financial consideration is one of the biggest factors. These results coincide with the ADA’s report wherein each economic class had similar percentages in saying they will receive a checkup, with the actual results varying by ten to twenty percent between classes (this includes Medicaid, private insurance, and no insurance). The highest percentage to receive care were from high-income households. Those unable to see the dentist regularly should at least aim to see a dentist annually, but it is in the best financial interest of low-income and middle-income families looking to see a dentist to be particular about such visits.

This survey also expresses that many factors contribute to poor oral health like the foods eaten, how often one brushes, as well as prevailing oral diseases and the embarrassment of oral conditions. For adults, dentists advise care based on general and overall oral health as well as the risk factors for tooth decay and gum disease. For example, an adult with good oral hygiene and no problems at checkup may need to come in twice a year. Someone with a lot of cavities or tartar may need to come in more often. When receiving dental care, the patient’s primary care doctor is often assessed and consulted through referral. A patient referral, in the most basic sense, is a written order from your primary care doctor to see a specialist for a specific medical service.

How often should I get my teeth cleaned?

A referring dentist usually manages the overall dental health care of the patient. There are several branches of dentistry that specialize in certain skills involved in dentistry. For example, orthodontists deal with the presentation of the teeth, such as tooth alignment, and provide services related to the jaw area. They often work on inlays and onlays. Dental inlays and onlays are fillings that can replace the traditional restorations that are performed in clinics. They are recommended in the case where the cavity or the filling already present covers too large an area concerning the remaining natural surface of the cavity. A conventional filling does not solidify the tooth: it only fills the cavity in which it is placed. As time goes by, it might expand, increasing the risk of dental fracture or even contract the possibility of decay and reducing considerably the strength of the remaining natural structures of the tooth. Stemming from symptoms of inflammation and cavities, if one knew beforehand, this reduces anxiety and embarrassment.

Having an awareness also increases trust in the care one will receive. Having faith is vital, as well as the risk involved in typical procedures. In the case of dental bonding work, one would need to be referred to an adhesive dentist, professionals specializing in adhesions to natural teeth. Dental bonding is a traditional method of tooth filling. It uses soft composite resin to handle minor chips and cracks in the teeth. The resin acts as a mold applied to the affected area and can be polished to match the shade of the surrounding teeth. These are only a couple out of the twelve dental specialties. It is important to know about the kinds of care to make sure one is referred to the correct clinician. Talking to clinicians in each specialty will help better determine the type of care needed.

One certain thing is that the most common dental procedures include braces, gum surgery, extractions, crowns, caps, bonding, fillings, and unfortunately a few more relative to tooth decay and repair. Thus, the most common dental inquiries are related to at-home oral care as well as symptoms of gum swelling, soreness, pain, mouth sores, and broken teeth. Many of which are often acted upon after physical evidence of symptoms. To ease the pain, it is understandable that many people are curious about the best toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash to administer to flush out bacteria and ease pain in the meantime. Well, there are mixed reviews for which products, but the best at-home care includes soft bristles and toothpaste with fluoride to defend against tooth decay by strengthening the enamel.

There is mixed evidence in good oral health practice and many statistics to consider, including the average amount of passive income and the value of healthcare options available. Oral healthcare is often looked over, but when one does, it is often tricky to receive routine dental care along with healthcare and extra costs. It is important to be proactive, specifically for children, and practice good oral care from home. Consider the options within one’s limits. If you are in the position to receive dental care, clinicians recommend six to twelve months in between visits to act as preventative care.