By Victoria Giron, R.D.H., E.F.D.A.
Have you been putting off dental treatment until the piggy bank is a little more plump? Waiting is often what we have to do at lean times but waiting too long can break that piggy bank wide open.
Preventive dental care like routine cleanings, fluoride treatments, sealants and yearly dental exams and X-rays can actually save you money in the long run. Although these procedures are not free of charge if you do not have insurance, having these procedures done regularly can significantly reduce the chances of acquiring more serious, difficult to treat and therefore costly treatment down the road. To those with insurance, use it! These preventive treatments are often covered completely so you likely won’t need to pay anything out of pocket.
“My teeth are fine!” They don’t even hurt.” That may be so, but did you know that if a tooth actually is causing pain, significant or irreversible damage may have occurred. Small and even moderate sized cavities can be present with little or no sensitivity and periodontal disease is almost always painless. So something that may have been a small painless filling or routine cleaning a year ago may have morphed into the need for root canals, crowns, implants or expensive periodontal surgery among other things. The cost difference can be as much as 10 times more for these more involved treatments once everything is said and done.
Being a hygienist you know what I’m going to say next. The least expensive preventive dental care is the one that happens at home. Brushing after meals, daily flossing and a nutritious sugar-free diet are all essential to long lasting healthy smiles. A toothbrush, toothpaste and a string of floss costs just cents. Here’s a message for all the parents out there: Good oral hygiene and a sense of how important it is starts at home with you. Make it fun, use disclosing agents to help your kids see where the plaque is and helping them brush and floss their teeth until they are able to prove they can consistently do it well each time is key. Truth is, most kids will need help until they are able to write their name in cursive as it takes that much manual dexterity to properly care for their teeth. This is where powerbrushes and waterflossers come in handy. For every reason we brush our teeth, a good quality powerbrush and waterflosser will do it better and more efficaciously than we can do manually.
If it has been a while since you’ve visited your dentist, go ahead and make the call. If you are new to the area and don’t have a dentist yet call around the area dental offices. Don’t be shy to ask about prices, what materials are used, what insurances are taken and philosophy. There are many offices to choose from but each place has a different feel, different staff and different characteristics. It is important to get a good vibe where you establish care.
The office I work in, Gorham Family Dentistry is focused on keeping a smaller, more intimate family oriented feel with a strong emphasis on education as a pathway to prevention. We are also a teaching dental office. Dr. Giron is adjunct faculty at the University of New England Dental School and mentors senior dental students that live and work at our office for three-month rotations. This is great for our patients as they can have dental care done at reduced prices, which makes it easier for them to accept treatment and keeps that piggy bank a little more full.
Any questions about this article or to make an appointment at Gorham Family Dentistry, call (603) 466-2323, email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to gorhamfamilydentistry.com or Facebook or Instagram pages.
Victoria Giron, R.D.H., E.F.D.A., has been working in the dental field since 1998 and became a certified dental assistant in 2004. She graduated from dental hygiene school at NHTI in Concord in 2017 and went on to acquire her expanded functions dental auxiliary certificate which she obtained in March of 2018. She has been at Gorham Family Dentistry since its inception and is an integral part of the office.