Many people are reminded that it is important to go to the dentist regularly, but the full reasoning is not always explained. Since many people have an intense fear of the dentist, understanding why it's necessary to go on a regular basis may encourage otherwise nervous individuals to make an appointment. According to the American Dental Association, people should visit the dentist twice a year for a cleaning and checkup, and some individuals may need to visit more often, if they are identified as “at risk.” If you have not been within the last six months, you should probably make an appointment.
The primary reason to go to the dentist is to keep your teeth in excellent health. During a tooth cleaning session, a dental hygienist can be much more thorough than you can at home. The dentist has specialized equipment that is designed to remove plaque and tartar while cleaning all around the tooth. The dental hygienist can also offer tips and suggestions for keeping your teeth healthy, and will generally tell the doctor how the session went, so that he or she can address specific issues.
Most dental problems do not become painful or visible until they are highly advanced. Unfortunately, serious dental issues are usually irreversible, meaning that an extremely painful tooth will have to be drilled or extracted. By going to the dentist regularly, you can keep an eye on your teeth with the help of x-rays and a physical examination. The dentist can identify areas of potential risk and head off major dental problems early. A dentist can also identify the need for gum grafts, braces, or other measures to protect the health of your mouth.
If you go to the dentist regularly, you will avoid high risk dental infections. Not only are cavities painful, they are also potentially very dangerous for you. The infection can spread to your bloodstream, for example, leading to septicemia. Early detection will save you pain, money, and potentially serious health problems. If you don't go, you may also experience serious health problems down the line.
It is understandable to be afraid of a trip to the dentist. If you experience immense anxiety or stress when you go to the dentist, you may want to consider visiting a psychologist or psychiatrist to talk about the issue. A mental health professional can help to talk you through your issues and address them. If necessary, a psychiatrist can prescribe anti-anxiety medication to help you visit the dentist without fear.