Choosing a Dentist

    Prevent Oral Health Problems: Visit a Dentist Twice a Year

Prevent Oral Health Problems: Visit a Dentist Twice a Year

Although twice-a-year dental visits are the key ingredient to maintaining good oral health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports less than two-thirds of adults make one yearly dental trip. In addition, one-third of all Americans have untreated tooth decay and more than 50 percent have gingivitis, which can quickly develop into periodontal (gum) disease. Visiting a dentist twice a year can be instrumental to prevent oral health problems and predict overall health conditions.

Need a dentist?

The AGD sponsors a year-round, non-profit toll-free service to help consumers find a general dentist in their area. By calling 1.877.2X.A.YEAR (1.877.292.9327), you can get the names, addresses and phone numbers of up to three Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) member dentists located anywhere in the United States and Canada.

By selecting an AGD member dentist, consumers are choosing a dentist with a commitment to continuing their oral health education. AGD member dentists must complete 75 hours of continuing education courses every three years.

Additional tips to help consumers find a dentist who they feel comfortable visiting:

1. Schedule a consultation

Call or visit more than one dentist before making a decision. During a consultation, time can be taken to talk to the dentist about treatment options and treatment plans. Ask questions. Insurance coverage, billing procedures and payment plans may be discussed at this time.

2. Note office environment

It is important to develop a feel for the office atmosphere, especially if more than one family member will be visiting the dentist.

3. Make an appointment

After the consultation, set up an appointment for a general exam, which consists of cleaning, X-rays and a medical history. A good initial visit is a good indicator that the dental office may match the patient's needs.

"Don't put off the initial visit," says John D. Chandler, DDS, MAGD, past president and AGD spokesperson. "Research shows more than 90 percent of all systemic disease – including heart disease – have oral symptoms. Visiting the dentist twice a year is an important investment in one's oral as well as overall health."

Online options to find a dentist

Consumers also can search the AGD Web site,, to find a general dentist in their area. From the main page, click on "Consumer Information" and then click "Find an AGD Dentist" to receive the names, addresses and telephone numbers of up to six AGD member dentists in an area.

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Original content of this reprinted with permission of the Academy of General Dentistry. © Copyright 2007-2009 by the Academy of General Dentistry. All rights reserved. Read the original article here.