Everyone deserves to have a healthy smile and there are many factors involved in keeping yours bright and healthy. Dental work can be costly, especially if there are many issues that need to be addressed. In this post we will look at some ways you can help make your family’s dental care affordable.
An Ounce of Prevention
There is an old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This is particularly true when it comes to dental care. Making excellent oral hygiene a priority is one of, if not the most effective way, to keep dental costs down, along with regular dental checkups and professional teeth cleaning.
With few exceptions, most teeth and gum issues arise out of poor or inadequate oral hygiene. You can brush and floss your teeth two or three times a day, but if you are not doing it correctly, you are providing plenty of opportunity for bacteria to attack your teeth or gums and create problems. Harmful bacteria are the cause for cavities and gum disease; both of which will occur if the teeth and gums are not regularly and thoroughly cleaned.
The good news is that when these issues are discovered in their earliest stages, they are treatable without incurring major expense. The longer the problems are ignored and neglected, the more expensive correcting the problem may become. More serious dental problems will require more extensive treatment, which means you will spend more time and money than if the problems were treated earlier. Additionally, as the problems get worse, your oral health declines and depending on the issue, your general health and well-being may be impacted as well.
Good oral hygiene and regular checkups will keep your family’s teeth and gums in good condition. Your dentist can identify and treat problems before they have an opportunity to get worse. Instruction for adults and children on the proper way to care for your teeth is also available. Some parents are not aware of the fact that those first teeth require care and cleaning in order to keep them healthy. Milk and juice left on an infant’s teeth can cause dental decay and should always be cleaned off.
Cost-Effective Child Oral Hygiene
Prevention of oral disease at all stages of life keeps the mouth healthy and keeps dental expenses at a minimum. During infancy, problems such as “bottle mouth” can affect the health of your child’s incoming primary teeth as well as the positioning of the teeth. Changes in jaw structure due to prolonged use of the bottle or pacifier may lead to the necessity of wearing braces to straighten out misaligned teeth later.
Primary teeth lost early due to decay can also affect the incoming permanent teeth. Spacing, as well as the health and appearance of the erupting permanent teeth, can be altered when primary teeth go bad before it is time for them to come out naturally. Infected primary teeth are not only painful for the child, but the infection could spread to the permanent teeth hidden below the gum and cause damage. When an infection from a baby tooth spreads to the permanent tooth underneath, the permanent tooth is more likely to be discolored, malformed and sickly in appearance.
You can save money and time by making sure your child’s teeth and gums are healthy. Learning how to clean your infant’s teeth and how to monitor tooth brushing and flossing as your child grows older will help keep them in good oral health. Establishing excellent oral health habits early in life paves the way for a lifelong commitment to good oral care.
When your child’s molars erupt, talk to your dentist about sealants. Permanent molars erupt with deep grooves and fissures in which bacteria can accumulate and cause decay. Sealants cover these areas and prevent this from happening. The sealant material settles into the grooves and fissures and provides a protective barrier against harmful bacteria buildup. Sealants can be critical for children who have experienced decay in their primary teeth. When you consider the cost for fillings or root canal treatment, dental sealants are a definite money saver over time.
Adult Oral Hygiene
You probably feel that you know how to brush and floss your teeth effectively. You may not be aware that your gums also benefit from brushing as does your tongue. If you have areas that are difficult to clean, you may need to apply some extra effort. When you visit your dentist, you can ask if there are areas that may need more attention. Your dentist or hygienist can show you problem areas and teach you how to keep them clean between visits.
By the time most adults reach 50 years of age, they have lost an average of 12 teeth. Almost half of those aged 30 and older have some type of periodontal disease, according to the CDC. As people age, the possibility of periodontal disease increases. Adults 65 and older are more likely to lose teeth due to gum disease rather than decay. In fact, over 70% of seniors suffer from periodontal disease.
The scope of the problem becomes even more dire when you consider that periodontal disease and oral health have been linked to other major health concerns such as hypertension, stroke, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, just to name a few. In essence, the fallout from poor oral hygiene not only costs more in the dental office, it can also cost more in your physician’s office, too.
You can keep these costs to a minimum with excellent oral care and regular dental checkups and teeth cleanings. Addressing problems early can save you hundreds of dollars in the long run and keep your smile looking healthy and beautiful.
When You Have a Dental Problem
As stated earlier, when caught in its earliest stage, most dental problems are easily corrected, and the cost will not be as much as if you wait to have it remedied later. A small area of decay left untreated could end up infecting the tooth to the point where an abscess forms. At this point, the tooth will either need to undergo root canal therapy or be extracted. If the tooth is extracted, it will need to be replaced in order to prevent other dental problems forming as a result of the space left.
In contrast, if the decay is caught early in development, the decay can be cleaned out and the cavity filled. You keep your healthy tooth and with composite filling, no one will be able to tell you ever had a problem with it. Money for root canal therapy or extraction and replacement can now be saved or spent on more exciting things than dental work.
Your teeth and gums are not the only areas of your mouth that may require treatment. An oral cancer screening performed at the time of your dental examination could save your life. Oral cancers are some of the most treatable cancers. Early treatment of oral cancers tends to have great success.
Cut Your Dental Costs with Prevention
Dental care can be extremely expensive but with good oral hygiene and regular checkups, the cost is considerably lower than without them. In addition to making good oral hygiene a priority, paying attention to the foods and beverages you ingest is also very helpful in cutting dental costs.
Opt for healthy foods, especially green, leafy vegetables. Cut back on sugary foods and beverages. Choose whole fruit over fruit juice when possible and always clean your teeth and/or those of your little ones thoroughly after eating and drinking.
When you are mindful about how you care for your teeth, you stand a much better chance of lowering your dental costs and maintaining a healthy and beautiful smile. Aesthetic & Implant Dentistry of Atlanta is here to help you achieve your very best smile and we will help you maintain it. Schedule an appointment with us for your family’s dental care.