Do I have to go to the Dentist every six months? Should I?

Posted by Linda Van Rossen on 7/29/2013 to General Medical and Dental Information
Should I go to the dentist every 6 months?  How often should I go? 

You probably don't need to go that often, but high risk adults, should maybe go even more often.  How often should you go?

A new study from the the Journal of Dental Research suggests that you should go often enough to prevent gum disease.  At high risk, go more often.  Low risk, once a year is probably fine.  High risk factors include smoking, diabetes, and some interleukin-1 gene variations (I know my variation, do you?  Not really, who knows this? Apparently the study authors, as they own shares in a company that tests this. )


The article concerning the necessity to visit the dentist on a biannual basis. Dr. Robert J Genco, a periodontist and SUNY distinguished professor of oral biology at the University of Buffalo found that, in low risk adults there was no significant benefit to an added visit per year.


However, about 65 million adults ages 30 and older, suffer from various forms of periodontal disease, caused by smoking, diabetes, poor dental hygiene, and studies suggest the Interleukin-1 gene, may be linked to periodontal disease in caucasians. These high risk adults would require more frequent visits.


Dr. William V. Giannobile Chairman of the department of periodontics at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry said “ The take away is not that you don’t need to see the dentist, it’s that each patient needs to be treated in their own individual way”.  Tooth loss is prevented by good oral hygiene which was not directly addressed in this specific study which was noted by Dr. Ray C. Williams, Dean of the School of Dental Medicine at Stony Brook University, and a periodontist himself. He said, ”We ought to be able to tailor the treatment to the need”.


What are your risk factors?  A “one size fits all”  approach may not be the best when considering a dental prevention protocol.  Read more at the New York Times Well Blog.

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