For good oral health, you should be seeing the dentist regularly, every six months for checkups. Many people believe that they are actually saving money by not visiting their friendly dentist. Why should they visit if they have no particular problem with their teeth? The truth is that routine dental care is much less costly in the long run than putting off seeing the dentist until you have a problem. Even if you brush your teeth and floss regularly, there’s a good chance that at some point you’ll get gum disease, which can lead to bigger problems if it’s not caught in its early stages.
Gum disease is common, and very few people can avoid it entirely, no matter how good their at-home oral hygiene is. Some people get it from genetics. Gum disease is simple to treat when it’s caught early, and professional dental cleanings can reduce the likelihood of it occurring. If gum disease is left untreated, it can progress from simple gingivitis to the more serious periodontist. At this stage, plaque and tartar must be removed by a dentist with special instruments, which involves more time and more cost. If periodontitis is not treated, the situation becomes worse, with tooth decay and possible tooth loss occurring. Severely damaged teeth may need root canal to be saved. This is a costly procedure, and the alternative is extraction and replacement of the tooth. By this time, the costs incurred will be significantly higher than the costs of regular checkups might have been if you’d had them all along.
If you have dental insurance, routine exams are probably covered. If you avoid regular exams because of co-payments, future dental work to fix problems will require you to pay higher co-pays. Routine exams can keep your teeth healthy and also prevent crooked teeth or gapped teeth. If skipping dental checkups leads to cosmetic problems, you can have them fixed in the future, but cosmetic procedures are generally not covered by insurance at all.
Dental health issues have a definite domino effect, with a simple thing like food particles you miss when brushing being capable of amounting to gum disease, then tooth decay, then cavities and finally, a tooth that needs a root canal to be saved.