September 23, 2020
According to a 2018 survey, only 58 percent of Americans visit their dentist at least once per year. That is a troubling statistic because the American Dental Association recommends that everyone visits their dentist at least twice a year for preventive care. Clearly, the practice of skipping dental cleanings is widespread. While choosing to forgo regular dental appointments may not seem like a big deal, this habit can actually lead to dire consequences. Let’s discuss what could happen if you become a stranger at your dentist’s office.
Of course, regularly brushing and flossing your teeth can do much to prevent cavities. However, it is possible that you continually miss a spot when you are cleaning your own teeth. Eventually, decay will develop in that area. At first, the cavity may be tiny and not cause you any discomfort. As it progresses, though, it can penetrate the inner layers of the tooth and lead to immense pain. In a worst case scenario, severe tooth decay can contribute to life-threatening systemic illness.
Visiting your dentist twice a year for a cleaning and checkup can prevent that from happening. The cleanings will reduce your risk of developing decay. If your dentist spots a small cavity during your checkup, they can fill it before it becomes a serious threat to your oral or overall health.
Just like cavities, gum disease may not present obvious symptoms when it is in its early stages. It begins as a minor infection in the gum tissue. However, as it progresses, it continues to attack and even destroy the gums and the underlying bone tissue. Eventually, it can lead to significant oral pain, loose teeth, tooth loss, and persistent bad breath. It even heightens your risk of systemic health problems, including heart attack and stroke.
Regular dental appointments give your dentist the opportunity to identify gum disease before it causes permanent damage to your smile or poses a threat to your overall well-being. In most cases, if gum disease is caught early, it can be reversed via a few adjustments to your oral hygiene routine.
Keeping Up with Your Dental Appointments
In general, people skip dental appointments for one of two reasons: fear or finances. If anxiety about dental care holds you back from caring for your smile, discuss your concerns with your dentist. They may offer sedation or other means by which you can relax. If cost is your primary concern, remember that major dental treatments have a much higher price tag than preventive care. Plus, most dental insurance plans allow you attend preventive appointments for little to nothing out of pocket.
When was the last time you visited your dentist? If it has been more than six months, the time to schedule an appointment is now!
About the Author
Dr. Mark Simeone is the owner of Chester County Dental Arts. He has over 20 years of experience in his profession, and he is proud to work alongside the three other doctors in his practice. Together, they provide a comprehensive range of treatments for families in our area. If you would like our team’s help to maintain your oral health through regular preventive care, or you have questions about how we can serve you, contact us at 610-383-1600.
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