How Bad Is It to Have Not Gone to the Dentist in Years?

by | Aug 6, 2022 | Blog Posts

How Bad Is It to Have Not Gone to the Dentist in Years

Now’s the Time to Schedule Your Appointment for Preventative Dentistry in Webster

If it’s been a while since you’ve made an appointment for preventative dentistry in Webster, you may be wondering how bad it is.

The good news is that you’re not alone. According to a 2019 US government health survey, millions of American adults haven’t seen a dentist in at least a year.1 There can be many reasons people avoid the dentist, including finances, anxiety, transportation, and more, and the COVID-19 pandemic only exacerbated the issue.

Whatever the case, it’s not too late. Even if you haven’t seen the dentist in years, it’s important to make an appointment for a checkup to get on the right track. Here’s what you can expect at your appointment.

A Comprehensive Dental Checkup and X-Rays

X-rays, or radiographs, are an important tool for a dentist to evaluate your oral health. X-rays are typically part of your regular appointments, but it’s more crucial if you haven’t been to the dentist in a while. Using X-rays, your dentist can check for underlying issues with your oral health.

You’ll also receive a comprehensive oral examination, including the dentist checking for cavities, tooth decay, bite alignment, and signs of gum disease or oral cancer. If you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, you are likely to have a few concerns that need attention.

A Thorough Dental Cleaning

Depending on your dentist and your oral health, your first appointment may include a thorough exam of your mouth, but you may not have your teeth cleaned on the same day. If years have passed, you may need a deeper cleaning to remove plaque and tartar.

Brushing and flossing are essential at-home activities to maintain your oral health, but they only go so far – that’s why it’s essential to see a dentist regularly. Along with preventative dental care, oral cancer screenings, and a general checkup, your dentist can properly clean your teeth to keep them in good health.

You May Have Discomfort or Bleeding

Dentists take every measure possible to avoid pain or discomfort during a dental cleaning or procedure. Still, if teeth aren’t cared for properly over the course of years, your gums may bleed during the cleaning.

However, this typically lasts only a short time and doesn’t necessarily indicate a problem.

Sometimes, gum bleeding can indicate periodontal disease or gum disease.2 This is a widespread infection and inflammation of the gums and bone that support the teeth. Gum disease can have different stages. In the most severe stage, the disease can affect the bone that supports the teeth causing the latter to become loose or even fall out.

Several factors, including poor oral hygiene, can cause gum disease. Your dentist can mitigate the effects by deep cleaning the teeth and gums and possible medication to address the infection.

Once the condition has cleared, it’s important to practice good oral hygiene at home to control gum disease.

How to Make the Most of Your Visit

Anxiety, embarrassment, and discomfort are often reasons people miss dentist appointments. If you experience anxiety about visiting the dentist, know that there’s no reason to be embarrassed. Even if it’s been years since your last visit, dentists and hygienists are there to provide care and advice, not judge patients.

You can also manage your anxiety by:

  • Sharing your anxiety or discomfort with the staff
  • Asking your dentist to use earbuds to listen to soothing music
  • Choosing a low-stress and less-busy appointment time
  • Avoiding caffeine before your appointment
  • Asking your dentist questions

Prepare for Multiple Appointments

If the x-rays or exam reveal an underlying problem with your teeth or gums, it’s unlikely the dentist will fix it right then. Instead, you’ll make a future appointment to perform any necessary procedures. Some examples of these conditions include cavities, root canal treatments, or deep cleaning.

If you don’t need any additional procedures, once your appointment is finished, you may be asked to schedule your next exam and cleaning in six months. Make sure to keep it!

Schedule Yout Appointment for Preventative Dentistry in Webster

Regular visits to the dentist prevent health problems, pain, and tooth loss. While you should always care for your oral health by brushing and flossing at home, you need to visit a dentist like Empire Dental Care for regular exams and cleanings. Contact us today to schedule your appointment at 585-671-1650!





Dr. Cohen has been practicing dentistry in private and public settings for over 10 years, completing her DMD degree in 2010 at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. Committed to providing dental care of the highest level, Dr. Cohen relocated to Rochester in 2016 to pursue advanced dental trainings at the Dental Urgent Care Fellowship at The University of Rochester, Eastman Institute for Oral Health, graduating in 2017, and the AEGD Residency program in 2019. She recently completed an additional advanced General Practice Residency program at St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany NY. This summer she moved back to Rochester with her husband Kevin, a native Rochesterian, to be closer to family. Throughout her career and personal life, Dr. Cohen has shown her genuine compassion and care to people and patients from all walks of life. She volunteered in underserved areas, practiced in clinics for patients with complex special needs, and treated medically compromised patients among others. She also taught and mentored other dentists and students helping them achieve their professional and personal goals. Most of all, Dr. Cohen’s warm personality and love of people create a welcoming, comfortable feeling for both patients and staff.