Avoiding Dental Checkups

What Skipping Dental Checkups Can Cost You

Do you avoid the dentist because visits are too expensive? Here’s why missing them can cost even more.

June 13, 2016 | HF Healthy Living Team

If you have a health insurance plan, you may be able to get your dental checkups for a low cost or even for free. If not, some clinics in New York—like these—offer free dental checkups, too.

During your visit, your dentist or dental hygienist will clean your teeth and check for tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health problems. S/he may give you a fluoride treatment to protect your teeth.

Regular checkups can help keep your teeth clean and healthy, and can prevent tooth decay and other conditions that can be harmful to your health.

If you think that dental care is too expensive, consider what skipping routine checkups might cost you, like:

A Lot More

Regular teeth cleanings can help prevent cavities which may lead to a need for fillings, root canals, and other procedures that can end up costing hundreds or even thousands more dollars.

Your Relationships

Stinky foods and not brushing your teeth can cause bad breath, but so can cavities, gum disease, impacted teeth, and other dental conditions. Keeping your family, friends, and partner from wanting to avoid you could be as easy as making regular trips to the dentist’s office!

Your Comfort

Gum disease (called gingivitis in early stages and periodontitis in later ones) is a result of bacterial infection in the mouth. At any stage, gum disease can cause inflammation or bleeding gums and be very painful.

Gum disease, tooth decay, and aging fillings can all cause pain when your teeth are exposed to heat or cold—a condition called tooth sensitivity.

Gum disease can have no symptoms or warning signs and is reversible only in its early stages, so you can protect yourself from discomfort by seeing a dentist regularly.

Your Life

Advanced gum disease (periodontitis) occurs when bacteria infecting the gums destroy tissues in the mouth, including the gums and bones of the jaw. These bacteria can travel through the bloodstream to other parts of your body, including your heart.

Gum disease has been linked to higher risks of heart disease, stroke, and oral cancer.

Oral cancer, or cancer of the mouth, is most common among smokers and tobacco users, and usually occurs at age 40 and above. Oral cancer has one of the lowest survival rates of all types of cancer because often it is diagnosed in its late stages.

During your dental checkup, your dentist can examine your mouth for signs and risks of oral cancer, which might include red or white patches on the gums, lips, or insides of the cheeks. Regular dental checkups will help ensure that risks of oral cancer and other conditions are found and treated early, helping you protect your health and even your life.

Keep your teeth healthy by brushing twice a day, flossing every day, and getting a dental checkup every six months or as recommended by your dentist.

 

 

© 2016 HF Management Services, LLC.

Healthfirst is the brand name used for products and services provided by one or more of the Healthfirst group of affiliated companies.

This health information or program is for educational purposes only and not intended to treat, diagnose, or act as a substitute for medical advice from your provider. Consult your healthcare provider and always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions.

Sources
“Dental Exam Costs in New York,” OKCopay. Accessed March 31, 2016.
http://www.okcopay.com/directory/dental-exam-costs/new-york/10003

“Oral health: A window to your overall health,” Mayo Clinic. May 11, 2013.
http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/dental/art-20047475?pg=1

“Periodontal Disease,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. March 10, 2015.
http://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/periodontal_disease/

“What you can expect,” Mayo Clinic. February 14, 2015.
http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/dental-exam/basics/what-you-can-expect/prc-20013677

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