By Susan Braden
Amidst this country’s rough economic situation, many patients are considering skipping dentist appointments in an attempt to cut down the cost of their dentistry work. If you are considering skipping your next not so cheap dental visit, ask yourself if you want to save money just in the short run, or in the long run, and if you are willing to put your health at risk.
Most dentists recommend a check-up and cleaning every 6 months for your best oral health. However, many people choose to go just once a year. Some patients even wait years in between visits, a dangerous decision! Not going to the dentist may appear to save you a little money up front, but chances are even better that you will end up paying a lot more down the road for painful oral issues that could've been otherwise addressed at their earliest stages.
First, going to the dentist for regular cleanings helps to ensure your teeth are strong and healthy. Missing cleanings or prolonging time in between visits will allow more plaque and tartar to remain on your teeth. This buildup will cause your teeth to decay more quickly, leading to more painful, costly work such as root canals, crowns, and extractions.
Secondly, when you attend regular 6-month checkups, your dentist can detect a minor tooth problem before it becomes a major problem. When your dentist finds a small cavity in your mouth, it can usually be filled easily and relatively inexpensively. However, if you skip a visit and your cavity remains undetected, the decay will escalate and often lead to much more costly procedures. (A root canal and crown can easily cost five times as much as a simple filling!)
There are some practical ways to cut down the cost of your dentistry, but they do not include skipping your vital exams and cleanings. For long-term affordable care, it is important to consistently visit your dentist every 6 months. These appointments may cost a little right now, but your dentist’s preventative measures can save you both money and your teeth in the future. In order to find truly cheap dental care, check with your local dental society for a listing of low-cost clinics, or investigate discount plans online to further cut your costs.