Taking care of your teeth is an important part of your overall health, yet many people avoid going to the dentist altogether. One of the most commonly cited reasons for avoiding the dentist's office is the cost. If you don't properly manage your teeth, however, you're much more likely to spend a significant amount of money in restorative dental care down the road.
Preventive dentistry emphasizes both at-home care and regular dental check-ups. By making a commitment to practice preventive dentistry, you can save yourself thousands of dollars! Let's discuss five tips for saving money on dental treatment.
- At-home care. Brushing and flossing at least twice a day, while so simple, is the most important first step in preventive dentistry. Remove the plaque from between your teeth and prevent 90 percent of all problems!
- Fluoride treatments. After every dental cleaning, have your dentist or hygienist provide a fluoride treatment, which strengthens the teeth and helps to prevent tooth decay. Additionally, there are toothpastes and mouthwashes containing fluoride that you can use at home. Don't hesitate to ask your dentist for recommendations.
- Regular dental visits. Preventive dentistry means visiting your dentist at least every six months for regularly scheduled check-ups and cleanings. Only a dentist or hygienist can remove hard tartar deposits from around the gumline. Remove it frequently and you avoid gum disease. Many dental conditions aren't initially painful, which means you're often unaware of their existence until they've progressed enough to cause significant--and costly-- damage. Regular check-ups help to ensure that any potential concerns are caught and treated early. Want to know a secret? Most dentists I know have their teeth cleaned every 3 months!
- Digital x-rays. Not all dental problems are visible to the naked eye. Digital x-rays allow dentists to catch problems-- such as cavities between the teeth or issues below the gum line-- before they become expensive. Special lasers can be used to detect cavities while they are still small and easy to restore.
- Healthy diet. What you eat has a significant impact not only on your physical health, but your oral health. Additionally, diets that are high in sugar and carbohydrates can ultimately lead to tooth decay. This is because the acid-producing bacteria in your mouth that causes dental plaque, feasts on carbohydrates. Stop with the all day soda sipping habit!
Peter J. Samuels, DDS is a local Gettysburg dentist and a clinical instructor at the University of Maryland Dental School. 717-334-0555 GettysburgFamilyDentist.com