An unexpected dentist bill can really cause a problem financially. Whether it be hindering savings accounts, causing you to enter an unplanned overdraft or simply cost you your hard-earned holiday money, it is a bill we could really do without.
Whilst many people believe that dentists are overpriced and check-ups are unnecessary unless there is a problem, preventive dental care is the most effective way to avoid a costly dental bill ending up on your doorstep.
What constitutes good oral hygiene?
As well as just teeth, a dentist ensures that your jaw, gums, and joints are in a great condition. Whilst the best way to encourage a healthy smile is to brush twice daily, use mouthwash and floss, a dental expert can give you tips on how to improve your health and identify problems you couldn’t have known on your own. Imagine not having to go through the wisdom tooth pain experienced by many, simply because you visited your dentist and resolved it before it was even a problem?
Why visit the dentist’s office?
Much like visiting the doctor for regular check-ups to ensure you are fit and healthy, you should also visit the dentist at least twice yearly for check-ups. Dentists are experts in oral health and are therefore able to spot potential problems such as tooth decay and gum disease much quicker with regular check-ups, much like spotting problems with a car if taken for regular services. However, unlike car parts, your teeth cannot be replaced with an identical fitting.
Even in the case of children who still have baby teeth, it is still essential that they practice optimum oral hygiene to ensure their adult teeth are in the best possible condition. Something as simple as dental cleaning, a filling or an x-ray can help to prevent conditions (that could eventually cause tooth loss) from worsening.
What happens during a check-up?
Although they don’t want to admit it, many individuals likely haven’t visited a dentist for over 5 years, some even haven’t visited since they were a child. Whilst the prospect can be daunting, you needn’t worry.
A dental check-up is typically a short experience, with the dentist taking a look at your teeth and gums to check for cavities or damage to the enamel, performing a clean and potentially taking an x-ray. The reason a dentist cleans your teeth and gums — despite how good your at-home oral hygiene may be — is to rid them of the build-up of plaque. Once plaque has hardened it becomes tartar, which cannot be removed with a toothbrush or floss.
Dentists will also check for signs of gum disease and cancer of the mouth, both conditions being detrimental to health, and the earlier they are caught the more successful treatment will be.
After the check-up your dentist may suggest further treatments if necessary. They will also advise you on your overall oral hygiene and how to improve, helping to prevent the very unwanted emergency medical bill from landing on your shoulders.
Since you're here...
We believe everyone in Indian Country deserves equal access to news and commentary pertaining to them, their relatives and their communities. That's why the story you’ve just finished was free — and we want to keep it that way, for all readers. But we hope it inspires you to make a gift of $5 or more to Native News Online so that we can continue publishing more stories that make a difference to Native people, whether they live on or off the reservation. Your donation will help us keep producing quality journalism and elevating Indigenous voices. Any contribution of any amount — big or small — gives us a better, stronger future and allows us to remain a force for change. Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.