The Story Behind Controversial Dental Headlines

September 13, 2016

How Often Do You Need to See Your Dentist?

The Story Behind the Headlines

There has been some recent media attention about dental studies (or the lack thereof) and how they pertain to what people need for their oral health and care.  There are a few sides to these stories: there is the sensationalizing of outcomes for the attention; there is keeping people informed, and there is what your dentist advises you. Here is what we practice:

  1. Each patient is unique.

Their overall health, their ability to fight off infection and their dental histories need to be considered.  A patient’s ability to clean his or her teeth needs to be assessed. People can lose teeth due to either infection from tooth decay or periodontal disease, or trauma from an accident or tooth stress from grinding.  These conditions need to be considered when recommending the timing of exams, cleanings and x-rays.

 

  1. Every case has to be reviewed before each appointment.

As a team we evaluate each patient before their appointments for their dental histories, their health and existing restorations and dental pathologies, such a cracks in teeth or recessed gums.  Is the patient on medication that would cause dry mouth? Is there a history of periodontal disease or significant tooth decay? How much calculus builds up on your teeth between cleanings and how uncomfortable are you having the buildup cleaned off?

 

  1. What will be best for your next appointment

If you are generally in good health with no oral issues we do recommend check-ups every 6 months with x-rays every every 2-3 years.  This is for preventative measures as well as your comfort.  If your mouth is healthy and your teeth have little calculus build up, cleanings are quicker, easier and in general more comfortable.  There are patients that due to medical situations may suffer from chronic conditions such as dry mouth or patients who have had recent tooth decay and for these reasons we would recommend more frequent check-ups of 3 months.  We do foster close connections with our patients and hope that if a patient has concerns about recommended follow-ups they would feel free to discuss any questions with Dr. Swenda or Maria.

 

Missed the hub-bub and are curious about these controversial media pieces:

https://www.bda.org/news-centre/latest-news-articles/bda-response-to-cdo

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/09/07/going-to-the-dentist-every-six-months-is-unnecessary-says-uks-to/

And don’t forget to floss! What is the whole story behind the headlines? "Lack of evidence doesn't automatically mean lack of benefit." Flossing is still the easiest and practically risk free way to remove bacteria and any food particles from between teeth!

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/tossing-flossing-2016081710196


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