1/3 of Adults Went Without Seeing a Dentist Before the Pandemic

September 20, 2021

It is no surprise that when the COVID-19 pandemic hit American soil, people decided to stay home. It is what the CDC recommended: social distancing, masking, and staying home would help flatten the curve and get us back to everyday life. With those recommendations, however, was a caveat.

The American Medical Association reported that 41% of people skipped preventive and elective care in 2020, with 57% stating they feared the pandemic and chose to stay home instead. While these numbers seem shocking, 2020 was not much different, with 1 out of every three adults under the age of 65 in the United States skipping dental care before the pandemic even began.

Woman at the Dentist

What’s the Big Deal?

So, why is it such a big deal that more than 30% of adults choose not to get preventive dental care? In every field of medicine, prevention is critical. Whether you do 20 minutes of cardio three days a week for heart health or get a mammogram after age 40 for early cancer screening, getting a check-up is vital and can even save your life.

When tooth decay begins, it can be subtle. It can start with a minor toothache and progress to a severe bacterial infection of the gums, mouth, sinus, and eventually, the brain. Without routine dental visits, you may look over the subtle signs of tooth decay. Unfortunately, by the time it comes to your attention that something is seriously wrong, it may be too late for even antibiotics to help.

Yearly dental visits can help prevent severe gums and mouth infections and allow dentists to monitor and treat issues that may arise before they become serious.

It’s More Than a Dental Cleaning

If you assume that a yearly dental visit is just an opportunity for the hygienist to cause you pain with cleaning, you are mistaken. While getting this cleaning is one of the priorities of your dental check-up, there are several other things your dentist will do at your next appointment. Patients often overlook many dental issues, so having a dentist check for irregularities and disease at your yearly visit is vital. Things you can expect:

  • Evaluation of your overall oral health and hygiene routine
  • Evaluation of your need for tooth restoration or replacement
  • Assessment of your risk of tooth decay and gum disease
  • Evaluation of your need for fluoride
  • Evaluation of your bite and jaw
  • Demonstration of proper brushing and flossing techniques
  • Possibly take x-rays, or do other diagnostic procedures

Time to See a Dentist

If it has been a few years since your last dental appointment, we recommend scheduling a comprehensive exam. While a routine visit focuses on the things we mentioned above, a comprehensive exam will include an evaluation of your entire mouth, head, and neck to check for any abnormalities.

Seeing a dentist will also provide you with a clear, detailed, and catered dental plan specific to your needs. If you are an individual who suffers from tooth pain, frequent cavities, previous gum disease diagnosis, or a weakened immune system, seeing a dentist more often will keep you in better health overall.

Our goal is to keep you in the group of 2 out of 3 Americans who see their dentist each year. Whether you’re a new or returning patient, our dentists at Mountain Shadows Dental would be pleased to provide exceptional dental care and additional education to you and your family.