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Importance Of Seeing A Dentist

We all believe that we ought to see dental appointments every six months, even if that’s not what we actually do. The question of whether these biannual visits are necessary or not is however, the subject of debate. In reality, it’s difficult to determine which source the figure of six months originated. It is believed to date from the late 18th Century which was long before the introduction in randomised controlled studies which could evaluate its effectiveness.

People who have many issues with their teeth naturally need to see a dentist regularly. But what happens to everyone else? The permanent teeth tend to be more prone to decay shortly after they’ve been in place, so the moment children are just beginning to grow their very first teeth around six to eight, they require regular exams. When they reach teens, their teeth are less susceptible until the wisdom teeth appear at the age of 20. The risk of developing a tooth is also different in different stages of life.

In 2000, three-quarters (73%) of dentists from New York were recommending six monthly examinations, despite lack of research that examined the extent to which frequency of visits was beneficial for patients with a low risk of gum disease. Nowadays, many organizations like those of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry still recommend six-monthly check-ups.

For a long time, some have argued that the decision to choose 6 months for the best time between visits is arbitrarily. In 1977 Aubrey Sheiham, a professor of public health dentistry in University College London, published an article within The Lancet bemoaning the lack of evidence to support six monthly exams. Nearly 40 years later He’s still making the similar argument.

In 2003, a systematic review looked at studies that had been conducted. Its results varied. Certain studies did not find any distinction in the amount of teeth that were decayed filled with fillings, missing teeth or even missing teeth for patients who visited the dentist regularly and those who didn’t, whereas some studies showed that there were fewer fillings among patients who frequented the dentist. Concerning gums most studies found there was no difference in the quantity of plaque, bleeding or gingivitis that occurs in permanent teeth. A study showed that seeing a dentist more than twice a year had no effect on the size of the tumors when diagnosis with oral cancer however, another study found that when patients waited longer than an entire year between visits tumors could be more advanced by the time they were detected.

The previous year, this year, the Cochrane Collaboration performed a similar comprehensive review of research, and were dissatisfied with the results. The quality and amount of research insufficient to support or disprove the notion of a six-monthly check-up. They only found one study in which patients were randomly assigned to see a dentist each year or twice a year. Patients who visited annually fared better, however it is possible that the dentist was aware of whether patients were part of the two-yearly or annual group, which might influence the treatment they received , and could have influenced the outcomes.

There’s another thing to be aware of. When a study shows that, for instance, children who visit the dentist more often tend to have fewer fillings, there are other reasons behind it. These children could benefit from other factors; they could be part of an upper socio-economic class or eat healthier and use better dental equipment.

There’s a second purpose for dental visits. If the dental professional does not find any problems the dentist will remind you to continue taking care of your teeth and clean them in a proper manner – though there’s no consensus regarding the best method to do this either.

How often should you go to the dentist? Organizations like Nice that offer guidelines on members of the National Health Service in England and Wales states it is the amount of visits to the dentist is dependent on the person. They suggest that children see a dentist every year at least once since their teeth are susceptible to get worse, while adults with no problems can go for as long as two years. They go as further as to suggest that more than two years of age is acceptable for those who have demonstrated the commitment to looking after their gums and teeth. Similar recommendations are given elsewhere. A group of experts who reviewed the data from Finland in 2001 advised that those under the age of 18 with a low risk should visit between 18 months and 2 years.

What happens to us next time we get an email from the office telling us when of our next dental appointment due? We’d all love an excuse to visit less frequently but the good thing is that if your suffer from any health issues, you could likely wait for a bit for longer than six month between appointments. However, how long prior to your visit to the dentist’s chair is contingent on the assessment that you and your dentist perform of your particular risk.