Dentists have long been asking patients to come in for a checkup every six months, setting this as the golden standard. However, new studies show that those who have high risk factors of developing periodontal disease may need to schedule preventive visits more often.
The Journal of Dental Research looked at insurance claims data for 5,117 adults mainly located in Michigan, and compared tooth extractions to the patient’s history of one or two dental visits, also with respect to his or her risk of periodontal disease. High-risk patients have a history of smoking and diabetes, or variations in the interleukin-1 gene, which research has shown to be a link to periodontal disease in Caucasians. Subjects that were characterized as low-risk patients did not have any of these risk factors. It was found that there was no significant difference in tooth loss between low-risk patients that either went in for a checkup once or twice a year. However, among the high-risk subjects, 17% of patients who followed the suggested biannual dental visits still had tooth extractions, while 22% of high-risk patients who went in once a year had their tooth extracted.
Doctors now believe that it is important for high-risk patients to make more frequent visits; the published findings suggest that the number of dental visits should be customized, fitting individual’s needs. However, doctors stress that these results do not indicate that patients don’t need to see dentists at all; they just need to be aware of their susceptibility to periodontal disease and go in for checkups accordingly. Low-risk individuals should still come in for checkups regularly to make sure good oral health is maintained. If you have any concerns, Drs. Ali & Ali and their team at Wellesley Dental Group will be very happy to answer your questions. Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or firstname.lastname@example.org!