Canceling your dental checkup can be tempting. Things come up last minute. And nothing appears to be wrong with your teeth, anyway, so what’s the big deal? The big deal is that postponed or canceled dental checkups can create a big problem for both your dental health and your wallet.
Who needs a dental checkup anyway?
This one is simple: everyone. Even babies should be brought in for their first dentist visit around age 6 months, and every six months thereafter. Even if you wear full dentures, and no longer have any of your natural teeth, it’s important to get a regular checkup.
Why are dental checkups important?
Regular dental checkups serve an important purpose for your dental, oral, and overall health.
Regular checkups give patients the opportunity to ask questions and address concerns. They also give dentists the chance to educate in an effort to help prevent dental problems appear in the first place.
Early detection & Quick intervention
Identifying dental problems is the first step to correcting them. It is practically always less time-consuming and less costly to address a small problem, instead of waiting until it grows into a bigger one.
The sooner a problem is detected, the quicker it can be corrected.
Did you know that your dentist can spot health problems that may not be directly related to your teeth? Your Summit Dental Center dentist can be an important ally in your overall health care by keeping an eye out for signs of diseases that may affect other parts of your body. Just by looking at your gums and the inside of your cheeks, your dentist may be able to detect conditions like diabetes, oral cancer, heart problems, and even kidney disease.
What happens during a dental checkup?
A routine dental checkup is usually comprised of three elements:
- An x-ray
X-rays help the dentist identify problems that may not be visible to the naked eye. Dentists use x-rays routinely to detect hidden cavities, infections like cysts and abscesses, and even tumors. X-rays also show the condition of fillings and crowns, as well as prostheses like bridges, in detail, and can reveal impacted teeth or jaw bone issues.
- An exam
Following the x-ray, your Summit Dental Center dentist will discuss any areas of concern. He will also conduct a visual assessment of your teeth. The dentist will likely use a tiny mirror and a hooked instrument – called a sickle probe or dental explorer — to check your existing dental fillings, assess tartar and plaque buildup, probe tooth enamel, and test the hardness of individual teeth.
- A cleaning
During the dental cleaning, the dental hygienist will scrape plaque and tartar buildup off your teeth and gumline. You’ll then receive a professional brushing with a special kind of toothpaste that has a gritty consistency. Finally, a good flossing will leave your teeth nice and clean.
What if the dentist finds a problem?
It happens all the time: you go in for a simple cleaning, but the dentist has bad news. The x-ray showed a cavity. Now what?
Depending on the severity of the problem, your Summit Dental Center dentist may suggest taking care of the issue right then and there, or schedule you for a separate appointment if the treatment is complex or time-intensive.
A small cavity, for example, can be filled rather quickly and your dentist may happen to have the time to correct the problem right away. After all, why take the chance of the cavity growing bigger while you wait for another appointment? Keep in mind, however, that other patients may be waiting in the waiting room for their scheduled dentist visit, and it may not always be feasible for the dentist to address your cavity right away.
When time is an issue or your cavity is of the larger variety, perhaps even needing a root canal, your dentist will likely ask you to come back for treatment on another day. Be sure to return as soon as possible, though, to prevent the issue from becoming worse. Remember that the bigger the problem, the more time you’ll spend in the dentist chair and the more expensive treatment may get. The cost of a filling is very small compared to the cost of a root canal and crown.
Paying for your dental checkup
There are many ways to cover the cost of your dental checkup. Summit Dental Center offers multiple payment options to ensure quality dental care is accessible to anyone, regardless of insurance status or financial ability.
DENTAL PPO INSURANCE
If you have dental PPO insurance, your insurance carrier will likely cover most, if not all, of your routine dental checkup cost. While policies vary, many dental insurance subscribers also get 2 x-rays per year at no cost to the patient, in support of receiving the recommended bi-annual preventive care.
At Summit Dental Center, we work with most dental PPO insurance carriers and will always work to keep your out-of-pocket cost to a minimum. If you’re not sure if we accept your insurance, just give us a call and one of our friendly office staff will assist you with coverage questions.
Generally speaking, another good option is to check with your insurance company directly to determine which procedures are (or aren’t) covered and at what percentage of the total cost, to learn about deductibles and co-pay, and to find out about annual benefit limits.
Summit Dental Center proudly welcomes Medicaid/CHIP recipients. Children and young adults covered under Medicaid/CHIP in Texas are typically eligible to receive a free dental checkup every 6 months. This benefit includes the exam and cleaning. Dental x-rays are also offered at no cost to the patient every 6 months.
CASH PATIENTS & SELF-PAY
We accept credit cards, of course, but cash is also an accepted payment option for your dental checkup at Summit Dental Center. Be sure to let us know if you don’t have any dental insurance coverage. We’ll work with you to keep your expenses as low as possible.
Summit Dental Center offers dental financing options for practically any procedure. Both in-house and third-party financing plans are available. We do not require a credit check with your credit application. If you’re worried about the cost of your dental checkup, we can help! Ask us about our affordable dental payment plans!
Schedule a dental checkup appointment today and experience the Summit Dental Center difference!