The American Dental Association (ADA) says an overwhelming 97% of individuals value their oral health. Their recent survey on oral health and well-being in the United States also says that 95% of people agree that regular dental visits keep them healthy — but only 37% actually visited the dentist within the last year.
What keeps people from getting to the dentist as often as they should? The majority of Americans say cost, fear, and inconvenience are the major hurdles that prevent them from visiting their dentist.
Hopefully we can share some good tips to help you overcome these obstacles.
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It’s no surprise that visiting your dentist (with or without insurance) can sometimes be costly. Whether it’s just for your routine exams and cleanings, or for larger procedures, dental costs can add up. So what can you do about it?
First, you can always discuss your financial restrictions with your dental office. Sometimes they can arrange a payment plan or even a discount for you if you are having trouble.
If that isn’t an option, or not enough of a financial relief, there are also dental training schools that will do cleanings or procedures for discounted fees or even for free. Hygienists and dentists both need repetitive practice in order to become licensed. Check your area for dental hygiene schools or dental colleges and see what their clinic hours and availability are. They may be able to help you get in for cleanings or procedures at a more affordable rate.
[Related: Is Flossing Really That Important?]
We see many patients who are fearful of the dentist. Whether it’s because of the perceived pain they will experience, or a bad past experience, about 22% of individuals say that they skip the dentist because of dental anxiety or phobia. If you are afraid of the pain you may experience in the chair, the thing you should know is that many procedures in a dental office get a bad reputation.
Root canals in particular are a commonly referenced procedure that many people make synonymous with pain. The truth is, root canal treatments relieve pain, usually within just one visit!
Another dreaded procedure is wisdom tooth removal. Although sometimes there is jaw pain for a few days afterwards, the discomfort can be easily treated with pain relievers prescribed by your dentist.
[Related: What is Periodontal Maintenance?]
Overall, the procedures themselves should not be painful. Any visit that could involve anything painful would start with numbing the area being treated so that you don’t feel anything. If at any time you do start to feel pain, all you have to do is let your dentist know and they will quickly remedy the problem.
If you need more help getting over your fear, here are a few recommended tips:
Lastly, inconvenience is a large hurdle in making regular visits to your dentist. If your oral health is important to you then you may need to make a few small sacrifices. Just like the choices you make for your overall health, like going to the gym early in the morning or after work when you are tired, skipping that cocktail at happy hour, eating a salad instead of fries at a meal, sometimes healthy decisions can be inconvenient, but in the end it’s worth it.
For routine visits to your dentist you only need to make 2 to 4 trips a year (depending on the frequency of your maintenance program with your dentist). In the grand scheme of things, isn’t taking a few hours a year less inconvenient than dealing with even bigger problems because you didn’t get in for your cleanings?
These issues can include hiding your smile because you’re embarrassed by it, having to eat only soft foods because you can’t chew very well, or even missing out on social events or job interviews because you’re too self-conscious about your teeth.
Keep in mind, a few hours a year for your oral health can also benefit your overall physical health, especially for those of you with diabetes or heart problems.
Contact Cascadia Dental Specialists today and get started on your dental health.