Dental visits… We know we need them and we know all about them. But do we really?
- Is it true that regular checkups are enough to ensure proper oral health?
- Are dental X-rays so harmful as they are believed to be?
In a recent DentaVox survey, we checked the awareness of 11,029 respondents globally of popular myths and facts about dental visits. See what they think and how it compares to experts’ statements.
#1: Going to the dentist will always be painful: MYTH
When asked about their first association with a dental visit, a lot of people are likely to think of pain. 13% of DentaVox survey respondents, for example, are convinced that absolutely all dental visits are painful.
Well, going back in time, that would actually be true in most cases. But nowadays, modern anesthesia, medications, relaxation techniques such as aromatherapy, acupuncture, and similar tremendously help combat aching experiences. Above all, remember that the earlier your dentist detects a dental issue, the less painful your treatment will be.
#2: I can go sick to a dental visit without informing the practice: MYTH
The COVID-19 pandemic has really made us think twice about going to work sick. Once considered bravery, this habit is getting more and more related to lack of social culture and care. Over 60% of our survey participants also pointed out that going to your dentist while you are sick without informing them in advance is not appropriate as well.
Interestingly, another 20% do not see anything wrong with that. Experts warn that dental treatments generate aerosols that increase the risk of diseases transmitted by the airborne route – e.g. the flu. If your dentist is informed in advance about you being sick, they can decide whether your treatment can wait or whether they could take additional hygiene measures to prevent contamination.
#3: If I visit the dentist every six months, my teeth will be fine: MYTH
An astonishing 75% of surveyed people believe that visiting the dentist once every six months guarantees perfect oral health. But what about the time between those six months?
Although absolutely crucial, bi-annual dental checkups are not enough to keep your teeth healthy. See the five basic tips for good oral health.
#4: Canceling my dental visit on short notice will affect the practice: FACT
“Yeah, I have a dental appointment but I don’t really feel like going today” or “I will be late for dinner, I’ll skip this checkup” – have you ever canceled your dental appointment with such excuses? For 27% of our DentaVox respondents, it seems like short-notice cancelations are no trouble for the practice, so they’d likely do that.
However, consider this: You are one of dozens or hundreds of patients today. The practice’s schedule has been organized to fit all of you for treatment for this particular day. If you cancel your appointment on short notice, you leave the staff with no work for the duration of your treatment. Moreover, you deprive other people of the opportunity to get treated. Our tip: Think twice when scheduling dental visits. Force-majeure circumstances happen but try to cancel your appointments at least a few days earliest so you give the practice the chance to react.
#5: It is no problem to lie when filling out my medical questionnaire: MYTH
Over 70% of people have lied to their dentists, a previous study of DentaVox found. However, some lies can be more dangerous than others.
Around 8% of DentaVox respondents believe that there is no problem at all to lie when filling out their dentist’s medical questionnaire. This is a myth. Not answering truthfully there can result in allergic reactions, wrong treatments, and other avoidable complications. So take it seriously, even though it is not the most pleasant survey to take.
#6: Dentists with modern high-tech equipment offer better treatments: SO-SO
Nowadays, it is no doubt that high-tech equipment leads to better and faster results in any medical field. Dentistry is no exception. Three-fourths of DentaVox survey participants are convinced that dentists who rely on modern technology offer better treatments.
And this is, in fact, partly true. Digital dentistry leads to a massive reduction of treatment errors and costs. However, it needs a high-end professional to work with it. The best combination? Skilled dental experts and top-notch equipment. Pay attention to this.
#7: Dental X-rays are very harmful to health: MYTH
It is time to debunk this centuries-old myth, believed by 17% of surveyed people. Dental X-ray technology nowadays requires a much lower active dose of radiation to deliver precise images. One of the latest NewTom models e.g. performs computer tomography of your entire mouth with just 0.0035 millisieverts of radiation. To put it into perspective, this amount is twice lower than simply living for a year in a concrete, brick, or stone building. It equals to eating 35 bananas.
See more curious comparisons on the graph below.
#8: Some dental treatments require more than one visit: FACT
Going to the dentist only once and solving all our problems seems like a dream come true, right? However, some treatments indeed require more than one visit and 96% of DentaVox survey participants agree to this.
For example, if you need a new dental crown, you will first need to go for preparation work and impressions. Then it is very likely that the dentist will need a few days to get it fabricated by the dental lab they work with. However, keep in mind that digital technology is on the way to shorten most treatment times massively. Even now at some high-tech practices, it is possible to get your crown directly 3D-printed and place within one visit.
#9: I am not obliged to adhere to the dentist’s hygiene protocols: MYTH
With COVID-19 turning the world upside down, a new understanding of hygiene has also been formed among the masses. A recent DentaVox survey showed that almost all respondents (95%) admit that they have become (significantly) more demanding of hygiene at the dentist’s due to the pandemic. It has also made some clinics stand out with exceptional “hyper hygiene” concepts, unknown to the world of dentistry so far.
Having this in mind, it is good to note that 75% of surveyed people do realize that they are obliged to adhere to the dentist’s hygiene protocols – for their own sake and the sake of others.
#10: Dentists can detect oral cancer symptoms: FACT
We will not get tired of repeating: The mouth is the window to your entire body. Not only can it let oral bacteria reach other organs and cause problems, but it can also help detect acute diseases with oral manifestations.
Your dentist, for example, is the likely person to find oral cancer symptoms, although 10% of our respondents are not all aware of this fact. One more reason to never skip a dental visit, right?
Which of those myths and facts were you aware of?
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Stats source: DentaVox, 20 Questions: Dental Visits
Base: 11,029 respondents (global sample)