Trips to the Dentist: How Often Should You Go?

According to new research, some people with low-risk for periodontal disease may not need those twice-yearly visits to the dentist.  The Journal ofDental Research recently published a study that shows that while high-risk patients should continue to visit their periodontist twice a year, others may need only one visit.  Nancy Newhouse, DDS, MS, President of the American Academy of Periodontology explains the findings:

“An annual comprehensive periodontal evaluation includes a thorough assessment of periodontal health, including a detailed inventory of any risk factors for disease. A dental professional should examine your mouth once a year to identify existing periodontal disease as well as assess risk for future disease. For some patients, this once-a-year visit is sufficient. However, according to the study patients with increased risk for periodontal disease warrant additional preventive visits.”

The New York Times explains further in a June 10, 2013 article entitled Rethinking the Twice-Yearly Dental Visit:

“Researchers found no statistical difference in tooth loss among low-risk patients whether they went for a checkup once or twice a year. But in the high-risk group, roughly 17 percent of patients who had had two visits a year had a tooth extracted, compared with roughly 22 percent of those who had had just one a year.”

The American Academy of Periodontology supported the study (Tooth Loss Assessment) but cautions that patients at high risk for periodontal disease should continue to visit their periodontist twice a year.  Smokers, diabetic patients and people with the interleukin-1 genotype are considered high risk.