Wellbeing

What You Should Know If You Haven’t Been To The Dentist In Forever

Did you know that 65% of Australians haven’t visited the dentist in more than two years, and 68% of the population only visit the dentist for specific problems?* This week is Dental Health Week, an annual initiative raising awareness of the importance of healthy oral hygiene practices even in our busy lives.

Why is it important to have regular visits to the dentist?

It’s essential that you get your teeth and gums checked regularly by a dental professional because they can pick up and treat any issues (such as tooth decay) early on. Often if you only go to the dentist in pain, the cause of the pain could have been prevented and treated if it had been diagnosed earlier.

In addition, everyone needs to have their teeth cleaned regularly to ensure that their gums stay in optimum health. Despite your best efforts to brush and floss at home, the reality is tartar will still build-up around your teeth and gums over time, and this can’t be removed by simply brushing or flossing – it must be manually removed by a dental professional.

Why do so many people avoid the dentist?

Fear of pain is one of the biggest reasons for avoiding the dentist. Many people have had traumatic experiences in the past, which has made them extremely phobic about getting treatment.

The other main factor is cost: many people consider dental treatment to be expensive. However, if you practice good oral hygiene and dietary habits, and visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleans, there should be no reason for any unexpected bill shocks.

Think of how many times you go to get your hair cut and how much you spend each year, versus getting your teeth checked and cleaned twice a year – is it really that expensive? Dental treatment generally becomes expensive only because issues have been left untreated for a lengthy period of time.

If you notice a hole in your tooth or have broken a tooth, go get it seen to as soon as possible. Don’t wait until you’re in pain!

What should you expect from your dentist appointment when you haven’t been in a while?

You should expect your dentist to give you a thorough examination of your teeth and gums, which may include taking some x-rays. Your dentist may also recommend getting your teeth cleaned, as there may be plaque and tartar build-up over time.

How often would you recommend going to a dentist?

The Australian Dental Association recommends twice yearly visits for the general population. Your dentist may recommend more frequent visits if you have certain conditions such as a high decay risk or chronic gum disease.

What should you look for in a dentist?

Choosing the right dentist is an important personal decision. You may ask for recommendations from family or friends, but ultimately it is the rapport you build with them that matters. Choose someone you feel comfortable with and whom you can ask personal questions – you shouldn’t fear your dentist!


This week marks the start of Dental Health Week, hosted by the Australian Dental Association, an annual initiative that raises awareness and promotes the importance of oral health. If you haven’t visited the dentist this year, make August your month to book an appointment. For more information or to find a dentist, visit: www.dentalhealthweek.com.au.

*APMI Partners, Australian Dental Health Study, December 2016