By Susan Braden
Some people haven’t seen a dentist in 15-20 years, but affordable dental innovations have made it a much more comfortable and painless visit than in the past. About 85% of adults have had dental decay, but 30% have gone untreated, according to Healthy People 2010. Fear of excess pain or primitive methods should no longer be an issue. Due to several advances in the past decade, dentistry has benefited greatly.
Methods have changed and advanced, and groundbreaking procedures have been added. Cosmetic dentistry has flourished, and the technology for tooth replacement has advanced to provide several more options. Dentists now have numerous safe options for pain reduction and relaxation. Even root canal therapy has improved.
One of the most feared dental procedures in modern history, the root canal has come a long way in recent years. Formerly completed in three arduous, hour-long sessions, a patient can now be in and out of the office in about 30-60 minutes. It only takes one visit, because new nickel-titanium files can be mounted to slow-speed drills instead of being filed down by hand. This procedure is much more affordable and comfortable now as well due to advanced anesthesia technology.
The improvement of local anesthesia is one of the most important changes in modern dentistry. Novocain, known today to cause a high number of allergic reactions, was once the primary local anesthetic. A cheap dentist may now have many other affordable options like mepivacaine, bupivacaine and the commonly known lidocaine. A newly approved anesthetic called septocaine is stronger than the aforementioned three and would allow the patient a pain-free experience for most procedures.
With an affordable dental plan to lower the cost, better anesthesia to lower discomfort level and new techniques drastically lowering the chance of a failed procedure, avoiding the dentist is no longer an option.
Almost 35 percent of Americans have neglected going to the dentist for the entire past year (recent Gallup poll).