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When was the last time you had your teeth professionally cleaned and examined by a dentist? Does your answer include a date prior to 2015? Then, it’s time to pick up the phone and schedule an appointment.There is more than one good reason to get yourself to the dentist for some preventive care:
1. Preventive dental care helps keep teeth and gums healthy. Nobody wants to deal with tooth decay, which can lead to cavities, and gingivitis, which can lead to gum disease. Both can lead to a whole lot of pain as well as tooth loss. Regular visits to the dentist for professional cleanings and oral examinations are important to keeping these oral health issues at bay.1,2
2. Visiting the dentist for preventive care can also help you avoid more expensive care. Visiting the dentist now may prevent you from spending more time in the dentist’s chair and paying higher dental bills later. When you visit the dentist for preventive care, he or she can look for potential problems and address them before they occur or get worse—when they are more difficult and expensive to treat. Did you know that it’s possible to have gum disease and not even have warning signs?3
When you have mouth pain due to cavities or other oral health problems, your body is telling you something, and you know it’s really time to see the dentist. Don’t wait until then. Go when you’re feeling fine.
3. Preventive dental exams can say something about your overall health. A routine dental exam can offer a glimpse into more than your oral health; your dentist may detect other health problems. The condition of your teeth and mouth can be linked to stress as well as diseases such as diabetes, oral cancer and heart disease.4
This is not to say one causes the other, but an oral exam may provide clues that something else is going on with your health and it’s time to see your medical doctor, too. In the case of oral cancer, early detection through a dentist’s oral cancer screening could save your life. If you already have a diagnosis for a disease like diabetes, oral exams and cleanings can be an important part of managing your condition.
4. If you don’t go to the dentist, you’re not getting the most of your 2015 dental insurance benefits. Dental insurance emphasizes preventive care, to the point that many dental plans cover preventive care such as exams, cleanings, topical fluoride, and sealants at or near 100 percent. Benefits will vary; however, insured members are typically allowed two preventive exams and cleanings per calendar year. Put your premium dollars to work.
No dental insurance?
No worries. You can enroll in a dental plan year-round. Most dental insurance policies allow you to get preventive care right away but may subject you to a waiting period for basic or major care (e.g., fillings and root canals). That’s why it’s good to get dental coverage before you need it—just like it’s good to see the dentist before you feel bad.
1American Dental Association. “Decay.” http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/d/decay
2American Dental Association. “Gum Disease.” http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/g/gum-disease
4Uscher, Jen. Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD. “What Your Dentist Knows About Your Health.” WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/features/what-dentist-knows-about-your-health