Let’s be honest: Few people really enjoy going to the dentist. Unless you know you’re going to get a gold star for your oral hygiene, having your dentist poke and prod at your teeth and gums can be uncomfortable and nerve-racking. Have you ever wondered, “Do I really need to go to the dentist?” The answer is an emphatic yes! Even gold-star patients need routine cleanings and checkups to keep their pearly whites in spectacular shape.
Do I Really Need to Go to the Dentist?
Reasons People Avoid the Dentist
It happens all the time; you meet someone who reveals it’s been years since they’ve seen a dentist, and you’re left shocked, horrified, and amazed that their teeth haven’t fallen out yet. At some point, that person stopped to ask, “Do I really need to go to the dentist?” And somehow, they decided the answer was no. It sounds shocking, but it’s not uncommon. Fear of the dentist is very real. According to Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, an estimated 15 percent of Americans avoid going to the dentist out of fear. That’s almost 40 million people!
For some, it’s fear of pain or a negative past experience at a dentist office. For others, it’s embarrassment or finances that lead them to ask, “Do I really need to go to the dentist?” Even with numerous advances within dental care, these concerns are common, and dentists have heard them all. But oral hygiene is too important to your overall health to let fear and anxiety keep you from visiting a dentist. Whether you’re worried about pain, recovery time, or expenses, don’t be afraid to call your dentist’s office (or a dental office, if you don’t currently have one) and discuss your concerns. Chances are, they’ll be able to help calm your fears and show you how easy and painless a visit to the dentist can be.
The Importance of Oral Health
It’s a common misconception that your oral health doesn’t impact your overall health. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the health of your mouth can hint at other issues. For instance, untreated cavities can cause severe infections that may spread throughout the body and, in some cases, be fatal. And according to the Mayo Clinic, cardiovascular diseases might be linked to inflammation caused by oral bacteria. Periodontitis (gum disease) has even been linked to premature birth and low birth rate.
Common issues like tooth decay and even oral cancers can be prevented and treated if caught early by a dentist. The problem is, these issues aren’t always visible to the naked eye. Cavities and periodontitis develop slowly. By the time a patient asks, “Do I really need to go to the dentist?”, it’s likely because they’ve started noticing a problem. Unfortunately, it might be too late to reverse the damage.
How Often Should I See the Dentist?
Making regular appointments to see your dentist can help detect and prevent oral disease and permanent damage to your mouth. So don’t ask yourself, “Do I really need to go to the dentist?” Instead, ask, “How often should I see my dentist?” The standing practice is to schedule a routine cleaning and dental exam every six months. Cleanings help break down any plaque that’s built up on your teeth and can prevent serious damage, while regular exams help catch disease and cavities before they take hold.
While two trips to the dentist per year might be adequate for most people, the American Dental Association recommends consulting your dentist about how often you should go in for routine cleanings and exams. Each mouth is different and some require more extensive care, which is why the ADA suggests creating a personalized dental plan that meets your unique oral care needs.
If you’re still struggling with fear or have questions about your oral health, don’t hesitate to call our team at Wilkinson Dental. No matter how long it’s been since you’ve visited the dentist, we are committed to your comfort. We are proud to offer you and your family a relaxing office environment while providing the care you need for a happier, healthier smile. It’s why we offer a variety of services like cleaning and exams, teeth whitening, and more. If you’re ready to set up an appointment, please give us a call at 417-708-0556 or click here. We look forward to hearing from you!