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Never before have Americans had this much access to dental health education, technological advances in dentistry, and dental industry news. Still, the American Dental Association (ADA) reports that only 58% of Americans see the dentist at least once a year – a backward trend that is down from 62% only two years ago. And nearly half of the people surveyed acknowledged that they don’t see the dentist as often as they would like.
The reasons Americans are reluctant to take a seat in the dentist’s chair vary: from cost considerations to insurance woes, transportation difficulties and fear of the dentist. Some believe that dentist visits are unnecessary as long as they don’t experience tooth aches or discomfort.
At Summit Dental Center, we are passionate about our patients’ dental health. Whatever your reasons to forgo dental visits, here are some things we want you to know:
1) Dental and oral health have a tremendous impact on overall health
Your dentist could very well be your first line of defense against a number of health conditions that may affect your overall well-being. Not only do several diseases show symptoms in the mouth, and your dentist is a great resource in detecting them early, but poor oral and dental health can also lead to illness elsewhere in your body.
The importance of dental checkups
Think of your dentist as a vital part of not only your dental care team, but your overall health care team. Regular dental checkups can help prevent conditions like:
- Cardiovascular disease: Bacteria from gum disease can enter the blood stream and lead to plaque in arteries, possibly contributing to heart attacks.
- Dementia: Conditions like Alzheimer’s have been linked to gingivitis.
- Respiratory infections: Excessive bacteria in the mouth can be inhaled and lead to bronchitis, pneumonia, and even COPD.
- Diabetes: Infections in the mouth can wreak havoc on blood sugar control.
- Kidney disease: Periodontal disease can lead to kidney problems and even kidney failure.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: The chances of developing RA quadruple in people with gum disease.
- Cancer: People with poor oral health are at much higher risk for pancreatic, blood, and kidney cancers.
What can you do to limit your odds of falling victim to these and other diseases? Get regular dental checkups so your dentist can detect inflammations or infections in your mouth early recommend appropriate treatment before the problem gets out of control!
Conditions your dentist may detect
Every time you see your Summit Dental Center dentist, he or she will perform an exam of not only your teeth and gums, but your mouth in general. Even before other symptoms may arise, your dentist may be able to detect potential problems threatening your overall health.
If you experience bad breath, a sore jaw, or bleeding gums, your dentist may be on high alert for potentially undiagnosed conditions like diabetes, oral cancer, heart disease, kidney problems, or leukemia.
Yes, your Summit Dental Center dentist specializes in fillings, root canals, dental implants – essentially, all things teeth. We are also trained, however, in spotting unusual symptoms in our patients that may raise the possibility of other conditions elsewhere in the body.
2) We don’t like getting on our soap box about flossing any more than you do
In light of everything we know about the relationship between oral health and overall health, perhaps it’s easier to see why dentists constantly harp about diligent brushing and flossing. Clearly, we want to prevent unnecessary plaque and bacteria buildup in your mouth, but we also strive to avert more serious health issues for you in the future.
We don’t particularly like discussing brushing and flossing at every visit, and odds are you don’t, either. It’s boring, and it’s getting old – we know! Look at it as our best effort, however, to protect your overall health, as well as your wallet. We’d rather you DON’T come see us for a root canal next!
3) Dental health doesn’t have to be expensive
No insurance? Bad insurance? Short on cash? Pricey dental procedure coming up? Here is some important information on how to keep your dental care costs reasonable and affordable.
- An ounce of prevention…
Yep, here we go again! Poor dental hygiene can cost you. Skipping dental check-ups can cost you.
Think of your teeth like a well-oiled machine like…well…your car. Odds are, you feed your vehicle gasoline, wash and polish it regularly, remove trash left behind by the kids, and wipe down the dashboard to keep it looking great and running well (that’s your daily brushing and flossing).
Also, you’re probably pretty much on target with oil and filter changes (that’s your regular dental checkups). After all, you don’t want your engine to burn up for lack of oil.
Similarly, if your engine does start knocking, you’re likely to pull into a service station asap (that’s your dental treatment, like fillings, in case things go wrong), before it drops out from under you on the freeway and leaves you stranded in rush-hour traffic (that’s your root canal or tooth extraction, because you waited too long to take care of the problem).
A good car wash costs very little. An oil change a bit more, but it’s worth it. Engine repair can be hard on your wallet, but not nearly as bad as a full engine replacement.
Same with dental care. Brushing and flossing is in everyone’s budget. Regular checkups are affordable at Summit Dental Center. Fillings may require a small out-of-pocket contribution, but a root canal can pose a problem for your wallet.
What do we learn from this “car analogy”? Small dental issues are easy to fix or prevent. An occasional minor dental problem is manageable. Major dental work, on the other hand, can leave you in a lurch!
Bottom line: Brush and floss, and see your dentist for a checkup every 6 months!
- Smart financing
At Summit Dental Center we understand, of course, that dental visits (especially for an entire family!) can encroach on work obligations and family time. Regular dentist visits aren’t always feasible or practical. And sometimes, it doesn’t matter what we do to ensure good oral health and our teeth have a mind of their own (or so it seems). In other words, major procedures are sometimes unavoidable for the best of us!
That’s why we offer affordable dental financing plans that allow you to apply your credit line toward practically any dental procedure: from medically necessary fillings, root canals, and extractions to selective cosmetic treatments like dental implants, Invisalign clear aligners, dentures, and dental veneers.
Ask us about our payment plans so you can smile now and pay later!
4) Modern dentistry: No pain, no fear
So many Americans are afraid of the dentist. To them, we say, don’t be!
Summit Dental Center offers a full range of sedation options (in addition to local anesthesia) that allow you to sail through your dental treatment without pain, and without fear.
- Laughing gas – ideal for minor anxiety and minor procedures; promotes relaxation; patient remains fully conscious
- Oral sedation – the patient takes a pill (or a combination of pills) prior to the scheduled procedure; ideal for procedures like tooth extraction in patients with moderate to severe fear of the dentist; patients are “awake” and responsive but unable to recall the procedure afterward; maximum pain control
- General anesthesia – sedatives are administered intravenously and the patient is “asleep” during the dental procedure; zero pain, zero fear
Speak with your dentist today to find out which sedation option is right for you!
At Summit Dental Center, your health, comfort, and trust lie at the heart of every patient visit. To learn more about treatment options, financing plans, checkup appointments, and more, call us today at 713-425-0450.