How often do you go to the dentist office?

Q: How often do you go to the dentist office?

Your questions actually have a lot to do with social class, so let’s start there. People who have more money tend to get braces for their kids, have their teeth bleached, and travel a lot, because they have the income to do so. So the type of Americans that people in other countries see most commonly are these types of people. But that doesn’t mean that all (or even most) Americans do these things.

As you probably know, we do not have national health care in the US. Most Americans who have medical insurance buy it through their employer. BUT. Dental and vision insurance are separate from medical, and in many cases not even offered. Dental insurance tends to be extremely expensive. So there are many Americans who do not have any sort of dental coverage at all. Estimates are that around 25% of the population has no dental coverage.

Even when you do have coverage, it may be too expensive to use. It’s common to have a copay to visit the dentist, then have to pay a percentage of the bill as well. It’s also common for the insurance to only cover certain types of procedures. In my case, I have a $50 copay, which means I give the dentist $50 when I go in to see her – but my insurance only covers “preventative” procedures (like cleanings), so I may later receive a bill for a procedure that was either not covered at all, or only covered in part. As an example, a few years ago, a filling I got when I was a child fell out. I needed to have it replaced. My insurance does not cover fillings, so I paid the $50 copay to visit the office, then also had to pay $500 for the filling. 

In some states, dental coverage is provided by the state for all children up to a certain age. This is because many dental diseases can cause disease in other areas of the body (for example, gum disease can lead to heart disease), so the state steps in to fill the gap in insurance. But this coverage is only the most basic and covers ONLY things like dental x-rays, fluoride treatment and cleaning.

So back to the questions – How often do you go to the dentist office?  – it is recommended that children go to the dentist every 6 months and adults go annually. I know very few people who meet this recommendation.

– Is it common to go to the orthodontist in the US? – Only people who are in need of braces or similar visit the orthodontist. Orthodontia is not covered by the majority of dental insurance plans, so the cost must be paid in full by the patient.

– Is it common for people to get their teeth whitened? – No. Actors, musicians, socialites, etc do this. It’s not common for average people. These days, however, there are many tooth whitening products on the market. So while I have never had my teeth bleached, I do use toothpaste that has a tooth whitening ingredient. And many people use at-home tooth whitening products like strips and gels.








A: 子供は6ヶ月ごと、大人は1年に1度歯医者に行くことが推奨されているわ。この通りにしている人はすごく少ないわね。


Q: 米国では矯正歯科に行くことは一般的なの?

A: 矯正歯科に行くのは歯科矯正などが必要な人だけよ。矯正治療はほとんどの歯科治療保険ではカバーされないので、全額を患者が自己負担しなければならない。


Q: 歯ホワイトニングは一般的なの?

A: いいえ。俳優、ミュージシャン、富裕層だけよ。普通の人には一般的でないわ。でも、最近は歯のホワイトニング製品がたくさん市場に出回っているわね。私は歯のホワイトニングはしたことないけど、歯を白くする成分の入っている歯磨きを使っているわ。シートやジェルなど家庭用の歯を白くする製品を使っている人はたくさんいるわよ。