Rethinking Rote Trips to Dentist

Do I Really Need to See the Dentist Twice a Year?

An article in the New York Times titled “Rethinking Rote Trips to Dentist” reported on a study published in the Journal of Dental Research. The study found low risk patients may not benefit from seeing their dentist more than once a year. However, patients’ with more risk factors may benefit from being seen more than twice a year.

The study measured tooth loss over a 16 year period and found no increase in tooth loss for low risk patients who saw the dentist once a year versus twice a year. Low risk was defined as patients who do not smoke, have diabetes or certain variations in the interleukin-1 gene which has been linked to periodontal disease. The study did not measure an increase in decay or gum recession, and inflammation.

While the study is interesting the main practical take-away is the importance of personalized care. At Gallrery57Dental we always strive to customize treatment to our patients’ health needs. We use our practice management software to make an individual treatment schedule for every patient that includes recommended frequency of exams, cleanings and x-rays. Based on a patient’s decay rate, number of old fillings, gum health and other factors we determine the optimal re-care frequency. This schedule is reviewed by the doctor and hygienist every time the patient has a re-care visit.

The American Dental Association’s website at www.mouthhealthy.org has a lot of information on how to take care of your oral health between dental visits.

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