Most people only visit the dental office twice each year. However, the dentist-patient relationship is a long-term partnership. It can have a tremendous impact on your health and self-confidence. Here are six factors you should consider when choosing a dentist:
1. Choosing a Dentist: Look for an In-Network Provider
When choosing a dentist, ask for the contact information of three to five nearby dentists who are accepting new patients.
Selecting an out-of-network dentist means you are responsible for paying a larger share of the bill. Therefore, it is vital to contact your insurance carrier to determine if the dentist is a preferred provider for your plan.
The insurance company can verify the status of a particular dentist. When choosing a dentist, ask for the contact information of three to five nearby dentists who are accepting new patients.
2. Professional Qualifications
While it may seem time-intensive, checking a provider’s credentials is actually easy. In addition, it is an essential step to ensure that you choose the best dentist possible. Ask your insurance carrier for information on each dentist’s training and the length of time that they have been with the company.
National, state and local dental societies can also supply details or confirm information about providers. Every state dental board offers free online research tools. These can help you verify a provider’s current and past license status and learn about any complaints or disciplinary actions.
It is critical that the provider register with your state board. This generally requires dentists to provide proof of education from an accredited program, pass post-graduate exams, carry malpractice insurance and undergo an in-depth background check. Details about dental assistants and hygienists are also available through these channels.
3. The Right Fit
Finding the right fit is a subjective process. Therefore, you may have to meet with multiple providers for a consultation before you make a final choice. One important consideration is the disposition of the entire team.
The receptionist, hygienist, and dentist should all have friendly personalities. This goes a long way in how comfortable you feel. You want to find a caring dentist who gives you their full attention. In addition, they should patiently explain issues and procedures and offer alternative therapies. Finally, they should listens to your concerns and help to put your fears at ease.
4. A Warm, Welcoming Office
The office itself also provides many clues about what the dental practice values. The front desk assistants should be warm and welcoming.
The cozy waiting room should have comfortable chairs, current magazines and clean toys. Dental chairs should be comfortable and clean. Equipment should be up to date to take advantage of the latest technology.
5. Range of Services Provided
Most family dentists are general practitioners. They offer preventative and minor restorative care. A small office with one or two dentists will likely be more personable. However, the range of services they are able to offer might be limited.
During the consultation, ask which procedures they handle in-house and which are sent out for processing. Also, make sure your dentist is prepared to handle emergency situations that arise outside of normal business hours.
Dental procedures can become expensive. Therefore, ask if the provider offers flexible treatment and payment plans.
6. A Good Reputation
You don’t necessarily need an award-winning dentist for traditional preventative care. However, you do want a provider other patients like. A quick Google search can help you find reviews and recommendations.
You can ask for help on social media. Ask your network if anyone recommends a particular dentist. You’ll likely get a range of great leads on providers that you hadn’t yet considered.
After visiting a dentist’s office, take into consideration any red flags. Examples include a crowded waiting room, unclean furniture, equipment that is out of date, unhappy staff members or a demeaning attitude from the dentist.
Read next: How A Mouth Guard Protects Teeth
Smiling has been a way of communicating since history was first documented. Healthy teeth may help a person do anything from make a sale to make a friend.
Smiling with confidence is important to most people for a variety of reasons. It shows their confidence in their appearance and personality.
However, it is essential in some professions, and certain jobs require people to have good oral health and a good-looking grin. The following are a few of the top examples.
Being an Actor Requires Healthy Teeth
In some roles, smiling may not matter. However, it is important for an aspiring actress or actor to have straight, white, healthy teeth.
Most actors and actresses try for a wide variety of roles, and many of them require attractive smiles. Regularly smiling can make a character more likable, and an unattractive grin can distract viewers from the show.
Read also: Demi Moore Shines Spotlight on Stress and Oral Health
Also, smiles go a long way in an audition. Some celebrities such as Anne Hathaway and Julia Roberts are famous not only for their talent but also for their beautiful healthy smiles.
Being an Model Requires Healthy Teeth
A model’s job is to make a garment, piece of jewelry, makeup or something else look appealing. The parts of the body that are visible for the visual display of a product must look as attractive as possible. Many people may not actually pay much attention to a model. However, they are more likely to notice a model who has healthy teeth.
Also, smiling lends to the overall appeal of a product. A model who looks happy to wear something sends this subtle message to potential buyers, and they subconsciously want to feel happy and attractive as well.
Being an Dentist Requires Healthy Teeth
It is easy to see why dentists need healthy teeth and gums. Their attractive smiles are good advertising for their services. If a person sees a dentist with a crooked or missing tooth, it does not inspire confidence that the dentist knows the basics of good oral health.
This tells patients that the dentist may not provide them with good care either. The same is true for dental assistants and office staff in a dentist’s practice.
Since people are already nervous about dental procedures in many cases, dentists and their staff must do everything possible to reflect their high quality of care and help put patients at ease.
Being an Public Official Requires Healthy Teeth
From city mayors to U.S. presidents, every public official knows the importance of smiling frequently and showing off their healthy teeth. According to psychological studies, people who smile genuinely and show their teeth are perceived as more trustworthy.
Having an attractive grin helps increase the physical and emotional appeal of a candidate who is running for any public office. Candidates also know that they have to look like leaders. If they do not appear their best and take care of themselves, it sends a subtle message that they cannot be trusted to care for a city, state or country.
Being a News Reporter Requires Healthy Teeth
Good smiles can make news anchors more likeable. This is is important because they must keep their channel’s news ratings as high as possible.
A popular theory says a well-loved news reporter in the 1980s persuaded people to vote for the candidates he favored by simply smiling. When he talked about his preferred candidates, he smiled more. Studies showed that people who watched his show were more likely to vote for the candidates he smiled about.
Learn more: 5 Reasons Healthy Smiles Lead to Success
Being a Negotiating Executive Requires Healthy Teeth
We all know, attractive smiles can help build trust in other people. They can also make a person more likeable and may even hold some power in persuasion.
These are all important qualities for a face-to-face sales professional or negotiating executive. Companies that hire executives to make big sales or secure important accounts and partnerships are more likely to hire candidates with nice smiles.
Being All You Can Be Requires Healthy Teeth
Attractive smiles and good oral health can benefit anyone regardless of their job title. Also, smiles can help people immensely in job interviews and on the job.
Poor oral care can lead to serious infections, tooth loss and expensive emergency medical treatment. Although dental insurance lowers the cost of dental care dramatically, many people do not have it or do not use it.
Dental insurance typically covers a free or low-cost cleaning, X-rays and an annual exam. It also lowers the cost of gum treatments, fillings, crowns and braces.
The cost of dental insurance is very affordable today, and there are several options to consider. This important coverage is an essential component of maintaining a healthy smile.
Read next: 5 Reasons Why You Need Dental Insurance
Although most people cringe when thinking about visiting a dentist, it is an important part of a solid oral health routine. Taking care of your teeth is essential.
A healthy mouth will have a positive effect on your overall health. It is wise to learn how often you should visit your dental care provider, the importance of regular checkups, and why procrastinating can cause major problems and expenses.
How Often You Should Receive a Dental Checkup
When you have a healthy mouth and follow good oral hygiene, you should receive a cleaning and checkup twice a year. Most dental insurance policies cover these preventative appointments.
A professional cleaning eliminates bacteria that causes plaque. However, it reestablishes itself within 48 hours. Even when you brush and floss at home, it is nearly impossible to prevent all plaque from sticking to your enamel.
The longer it remains, the more it will calcify, which makes it impossible to remove without scraping. Having a dental hygienist clean your mouth twice a year lowers the likelihood of having troublesome tartar accumulate.
People at high risk of developing a dental disease may wish to visit a dentist more than twice a year. Groups most likely to require frequent care include smokers, diabetics, pregnant women, and individuals with gum disease. During times of stress or sickness, you may wish to schedule appointments more often as well.
Importance of Regular Dental Visits
According to the American Dental Association, regular dental exams are the keys to maintaining a healthy mouth. Regular visits help you enjoy a whiter smile, avoid bad breath, and keep your natural teeth as long as possible. At each appointment, you will reap the benefits of a professional cleaning and examination.
Visiting your dentist includes more than checking for decay. During a normal examination, the dentist will evaluate the health of your gums. This helps prevent and treat early signs of periodontal disease.
It is not unusual for your dental provider to examine your tongue, throat, face, and neck to make sure there are no symptoms of oral cancer or other serious conditions. If you suffer from headaches or jaw problems, the dentist will check your bite and jaw joints as well.
The most important part of each checkup is the professional cleaning. A dental hygienist will use special tools to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth. The dentist will take x-rays to find any hidden cavities. A thorough fluoride cleaning may help remove stains caused by certain foods, beverages, and cigarettes.
Reasons Not to Wait Too Long for Professional Dental Care
Many people rationalize reasons for avoiding annual dental checkups. They believe it saves time and money. However, when you wait too long for professional dental care, you are left vulnerable to unidentified decay or worse problems. Often, procrastinating can actually cause you to spend more time in the dentist’s chair treating expensive problems the dentist could found during a routine visit.
With regular checkups, your dentist can identify and treat small problems before they get out of hand. By the time you are in pain, issues have become serious, and treatment will need to be more invasive. For example, a small cavity that could have been easily filled may spread to the root and cause the need for a root canal. This procedure is much more extensive and costly. In severe cases, ignoring a minor problem that your dentist could have treated may lead to total tooth loss.
Fear is another reason may people avoid visiting a dental care provider. Today, many dental professionals offer sedated dentistry to lower patient anxiety. During all procedures, there are many ways to keep a person comfortable and calm.
Top Reasons to Have Dental Insurance
Dental coverage helps you lower the amount of money you must pay out-of-pocket for treatments. Since most plans cover yearly cleanings and checkups, they give you the opportunity to maintain a bright smile that is free of problems. Preventative maintenance helps uncover small issues before they become major concerns.
When you have insurance, you are more likely to make and keep your dental appointments. You will have less excuses to delay a visit. At each appointment, you will increase your oral health and overall well being. When your mouth is healthy, you are less apt to suffer from negative health problems. As periodontal disease begins, bacteria grows in the mouth and causes inflammation that may spread to other parts of the body, including the heart.
Although you may feel you cannot afford dental coverage, it is important to consult with a trusted insurance agent. There are plans at various monetary levels that can help you maintain the best oral health possible. Explore our website and uncover an insurance option that fits your needs and your budget.
Read next: Affordable Dental Insurance
Your teeth go beyond your oral health. Your mouth is the window to your entire body’s condition. It shows signs of nutritional deficiencies and other problems.
When your mouth has issues, you may face high risks of developing heart disease, fertility problems, diabetes, and other negative conditions. Following a solid oral hygiene routine will ensure an attractive smile and encourage overall wellness.
Simply brushing and flossing each day will improve your entire health status. Here is a closer look at the importance of a solid hygiene routine.
The Importance of a Healthy Mouth
Taking care of your mouth is vital. Experts recommend you brush and floss each day. This will help eliminate bacteria that causes bad breath, decay, and gum disease. When bacteria is allowed to thrive, gum inflammation often occurs. This lowers your body’s immune system and makes oral issues worse. Also, it can wreak havoc on the rest of your body.
- Endocarditis. Endocarditis is a heart infection that is caused by bacteria that spreads through the bloodstream. This bacteria often stems from the mouth.
- Heart Disease. Certain cases of heart disease are associated with infections and inflammation caused by bacteria in the mouth.
- Pregnancy Issues. Poor oral health may cause pregnant women to give birth to premature and low-weight babies.
- Diabetes. People with gum disease are more likely to have diabetic issues. This oral problem makes it difficult to control blood sugar levels.
The Roles of Your Teeth
When a person has tooth problems, it is not possible to receive adequate nutrition. With severe decay or gaps in your mouth, it is difficult to chew and eat the foods necessary to support a healthy lifestyle.
This is why practicing a good oral care routine is essential. Your pearly whites come in different shapes and sizes, which helps them perform specific jobs.
- Incisors. Incisors are located in the front of your mouth, and they make it easy to bite things.
- Canines. Canines are the sharpest structures in youth mouth. They make it easy to rip and tear food.
- Premolars and Molars. Premolars and molars are found in the back of your mouth and are used for chewing and grinding. This is actually where digestion begins.
The Importance of Insurance for a Healthy Mouth
When you feel sick, you usually head to your doctor’s office. Likewise, when your mouth hurts, you commonly schedule an appointment with your dentist. However, dental care can be costly.
Thanks to dental insurance, you can receive necessary treatments at a lower expense and enjoy the benefits of regular dental care. Visiting your dentist on a yearly basis is a smart way to prevent problems from beginning.
There’s more to good oral care than practicing an oral hygiene routine at home. A dentist will perform a thorough cleaning and examination. When issues are detected early, they are less likely to cause major problems in your mouth and on the rest of your body. The small cost of insurance provides peace of mind your teeth will last as long as possible. Also, you will gain confidence that your smile looks great.
When you are interested in maintaining a healthy mouth and want to make sure all of your tooth problems are addressed by a professional, you should consider purchasing dental insurance. When insurance is combined with proper hygiene, you are likely to suffer minimal oral problems. To uncover an affordable plan that increases your overall health and well being, visit a local agent today.
Read next: 5 Reasons Why You Need Dental Insurance
Do you want to keep your teeth? If so, brushing and flossing need to become habitual. Why? Because if you don’t embrace brushing and flossing, you could have unpleasant and painful consequences like bleeding gums and rotting teeth.
You may develop excruciating dental abscesses. Your teeth may all fall out, but only after causing you indescribable pain. Teeth that don’t fall out may become so loose that they move around in your mouth.
What Happens When you Skip Brushing and Flossing?
At some point, you’ll almost certainly develop bad breath. Your teeth will start to look discolored; they may turn yellow or take on a brownish or blackish color. Sticky gunk called plaque will accumulate on your teeth and eventually harden into calculus or tartar.
Plaque, calculus and tartar are all loaded with bacteria and toxins that inflame the gums and cause cavities. If the cavities are allowed to progress, you will start to experience severe tooth pain whenever you try to eat.
Meanwhile, your gums will begin to shrink and pull away from your teeth. They’ll develop pockets where bacteria and toxins hide and multiply while they eat away at your gum tissue. At some point, your gums will shrink so much that they will no longer be able to hold your teeth in place. As a result, your teeth will get loose and start to fall out.
What Causes Problems With Teeth And Gums?
Food particles get stuck in your teeth whenever you eat. At any given moment, millions of hungry bacteria are scavenging for food inside your mouth.
They feed on the food particles stuck in your teeth, and the longer you wait to remove these food particles by brushing and flossing, the more bacteria these food particles will attract.
As long as there is something good to eat, these invisible invaders will hang around in your mouth and feast on whatever they find. Over time, they will make a total mess of your teeth and gums.
As they consume the food particles stuck in your teeth, they produce acid. The acid eats away at the protective enamel covering your teeth, and the next thing you know, you have cavities. Meanwhile, all those tiny bacteria are emitting volatile sulfur compounds that produce bad breath.
Can I Develop Other Health Problems If I Don’t Take Care Of My Teeth?
Not caring for your teeth and gums can have devastating consequences that might not become obvious until you reach your 30s. By then, you could be in the market for gum surgery and dentures.
However, if you address the situation by committing to healthy oral care immediately, your dentist may be able to stabilize your condition and keep things from getting worse. Unfortunately, dentists cannot reverse the damage that’s already been done. To prevent further deterioration, you will have to take exceptionally good care of your teeth and gums for the rest of your life.
Commit to Brushing and Flossing Regularly
All of these problems can be easily avoided with proper oral hygiene and regular dental care. When you brush and floss every day, your teeth and gums will not develop the problems caused by food particles stuck in your teeth.
When there are no food particles for bacteria to feed on, they cannot take over your mouth. Thoroughly brushing all the surfaces of your teeth will get rid of about 65 percent of food particles. Proper flossing between teeth will remove the rest.
Read next: 4 Most Overlooked Oral Health Problems
For some people, dental appointments are routine. For others, dental anxiety makes the process a serious ordeal. Fortunately, modern dentistry is an advanced science that typically results in positive outcomes. Here are some of the myths and misconceptions people face when planning dental visits. We’ll also share a few tricks that make your worries easier to overcome.
What Are Dental Anxieties and Phobias?
Dispel dental fears based on myths with a fact-based, scientific point of view.
Experts group fears of going to the dentist into two general categories. They use the term “dental anxiety” when speaking about a normal level of fear. When fear affects functionality, dentists use the term “dental phobia.”
Dental anxiety is a normal level of concern about dental visits. Experts associate it with simple issues. Some of these are fear of pain, bad prior experiences, mistrust of injections, or worries about the side effects of anesthetic procedures.
Dental phobias occur when such fears increase to levels that make it extremely difficult for people to function. Unfortunately, phobias may prevent individuals from taking care of their teeth until it’s absolutely necessary.
Are Dental Anxieties Unrealistic?
Many of these worries reflect valid concerns. For instance, injections are typically associated with some level of discomfort. Similarly, anesthetics commonly come with side effects, such as dizziness or lasting numbness. However, when fears become so intense they affect other areas of your life, it’s important to get them under control.
Fight Fear with Understanding
One way to combat dental fears is to empower yourself with knowledge. Patients have the right to know as much as possible about why they’re undergoing different procedures and what each entails.
Learning more about their options can usually help people come to terms with the necessities of oral care. Educating yourself is also an important part of building a more trusting relationship with your dentist. Doing so can truly help to ease your fears.
Dealing with Specific Myths
It’s easy to work yourself up about anything you’re worried about. The following dental misconceptions, however, commonly seem far worse than they really are:
All Dental Procedures Hurt
It would be dishonest to say that no dental treatments cause pain. What you have to remember, however, is that the vast majority don’t and that the pain associated with letting your problems worsen is generally far more severe.
For instance, nobody likes having cavities excavated, but if you just ignore them, you’ll require extensive dental work and possibly way more painful root canals. Getting treated as early as possible may not always be comfortable, but it definitely feels better than the alternatives.
I Feel Like I’m Not in Control During Dental Visits
Some individuals feel embarrassed or helpless when they let hygienists and dental professionals into their personal space. While this is somewhat natural, it’s important to remember that you’re always in control.
Even though you likely lack the dental knowledge that your doctor or nurse possesses, you can really increase your comfort with what they’re doing by learning about it in advance.
Most dental offices are absolutely happy to share literature detailing what goes on during different procedures so that you can keep yourself informed even though you won’t be able to watch what’s happening to your teeth in real time.
I Lack Sufficient Dental Insurance
When properly managed, dental care doesn’t have to be expensive. There are a huge array of dental insurance plans that make it much easier for people to care for themselves and their families without straining their finances, and once again, staying on the ball helps reduce care costs.
The price tags associated with in-depth procedures and long-overdue corrective work are much higher than what you’ll pay for simple preventive care, so confronting your need for dental work head-on can save you massive amounts of stress down the line.
Making Trips to the Dentist Easier
Remember, dental care doesn’t have to be a pain. Even if you suffer from severe dental anxiety, you’ll find that managing your misconceptions and becoming more informed makes it much easier to make responsible decisions about your teeth.
To learn more about dental insurance and the common issues people have with planning dental visits, check out our other blogs. Or if we missed a common misconception that affects someone you know, share it in the comments below.
Read next: Best Individual Dental Insurance Plans
Dental Health: at the Forefront of Everyone’s Mind This Year
In 2015, more and more medical reports started to emerge about the importance of dental health on a person’s general health. In fact, researchers have linked poor oral hygiene to a number of health risks. These include cardiovascular conditions and problems with pregnancy.
However, scientists also released reports about genetic issues that affect oral health. Our genes, it seems, can predispose certain people to develop more plaque. This means they have a higher likelihood to develop gingivitis. These types of patients require more frequent monitoring.
Making a New Year Resolution to Prioritize Dental Health
With this increased focus on oral health, many people are making it a New Year resolution this year. Perhaps you were born with dazzling teeth. Or you may need some help in that department. Either way, regular trips to the dentist are the best way to ensure oral health.
To guarantee the year starts off on the right foot, research your dental insurance options. Dentalinsurance.com offers the right plan, at the right price, and you can get it right now.
Scheduling Regular Cleanings and Necessary Procedures Will Prevent Future Dental Health Problems
When it come to maintaining dental health, the most effective strategy is to see your dentist regularly. Although dentists recommend a cleaning every six months or so, everyone’s mouth is different. Depending upon your dental history and the condition of your teeth, your dentist may recommend more frequent cleanings.
There’s never been a better time to start exploring what types of dental insurance benefits are available to you. Life can toss all sorts of curve balls your way, which is why insurance will offer you some peace of mind.
Whether it’s a chipped tooth from eating corn nuts or a sudden need for a root canal, all sorts of unexpected happenings can occur when it comes to your smile. With dental insurance, you can ease the bite from any unexpected dental expenses that may come your way.
Starting the New Year off with a Sensational Smile
Your smile is one of the very first things that people notice about your physical appearance. This new year provides an excellent opportunity to review how much attention you’ve been giving to your overall physical health, especially your gums.
If you’re like most people, then it’s probably time to step up your game. Dental health can fall by the wayside sometimes, which is why it’s important to take action immediately.
As the months pass by, it becomes easier to let your dental health slip by for some more time. Before you know it, another year will have passed by. Studies have shown that the most effective way to tackle a goal is to take some kind of action as soon as possible.
Whether it’s talking to a friend about their insurance or getting online and looking up dental offices near you, resolve to take at least one small step towards finally putting your dental health in order.
Read next: The Oral Hygiene – Bad Breath Connection
The state of your oral health is an indicator of various conditions and personal choices. Stained enamel could indicate
personal habits such as smoking and drinking copious amounts of tea or coffee. Misaligned teeth may point to a nail biting habit while bad breath may reflect poor dental hygiene and the presence of other illnesses. Dental professionals are trained to look for these symptoms and counsel patients to consider altering their lifestyle choices for the sake of their dental health.
Stress Affects Oral Health
Dental professionals are charged with providing care and addressing the issues that patients may have regarding the condition of their teeth, gums and mouth. While many dental problems are due to lifestyle choices and inadequate care, some serious conditions are related to emotional strain. Dental insurance may not explicitly mention emotional factors, but your oral conditions may be symptomatic of these issues.
• Bruxism – This condition involves grinding the teeth, clenching the jaws or a combination of the two. The condition may be caused by factors, such as sleep problems, uneven bite or missing molars or incisors, but bruxism may also be traced to emotional pressures. Grinding could be also be part of nervous tics. Symptoms of bruxism include worn out enamel, flattened dental tips, increased sensitivity in the mouth and indentations in the tongue.
• Temporomandibular Disorders – This set of conditions affect movement of the joints of the jaw, causing pain and stiffness all the way to the neck. Chronic stress may lead to TMD or aggravate a pre-existing condition.
• Periodontal Disease – Emotional factors may contribute to development of gum diseases in adults. Researchers found that patients who reported problems related to problems with personal relationships, jobs and financial situations in the last 12 months developed gum diseases with the severity of the condition increasing with the level of stress. Gum disease may become difficult to resolve once it sets in. This is one of the reasons that dental insurance providers strongly recommend twice a year cleaning and prophylaxis if needed.
• Canker Sores – These oral sores are not contagious, but they could cause pain and discomfort. It may be due to biting the lining of your cheeks or other trauma caused by vigorous oral care. A report in “General Dentistry” discussed how canker sores in students seemed to increase in students while school was in session, but declined during school breaks.
The Dentist as Emotional Counselor
Your dentist is not typically the health care provider you would see for emotional issues, but it is clear that anxiety and other emotional issues may affect your oral health and worsen existing problems. Aside from trauma to the mouth due to biting, grinding and scrubbing, oral care may fall by the wayside when you are under constant emotional pressure.
Dental insurance providers recommend preventive care that includes dental visits, cleaning and some oral health-related counseling. Your annual or bi-annual visits will give your dentist an opportunity to detect changes in your dental health that may be due to emotional pressures. While dentists may not be able to address the emotional aspects directly, they can make sure that your dental health issues are dealt with effectively.
Sharp pain in your mouth is a sure sign that you need to see a dentist, but it is not always a reliable indicator of trouble. Regular checkups offer the best way to avoid the discomfort that often occurs when your dentist’s office is closed. Preventing deterioration of your teeth protects the health of your mouth and prevents problems like these:
• Bleeding Gums
Painless but nonetheless a serious condition, bleeding gums can mean that you have gingivitis or periodontal disease. Plaque turns into hardened tartar and can cause the loss of bone that supports your teeth. Dental cleaning twice a year gives your dentist a chance to assess and correct gum disease in its early stages.
• Bad Breath
Leaving particles of food in your teeth after a meal creates temporary bad breath, a simple condition that brushing and flossing corrects. However, bad breath may also mean that you have gum disease. Without adequate saliva to remove food particles, dry mouth allows them to create offensive odors. Dentists can prescribe effective treatment.
• Tooth Decay
Only the common cold is more prevalent in the United States than tooth decay. Sticky plaque forms on your teeth and allows acids to attack your tooth enamel. Eating healthy food in addition to brushing and flossing twice daily can prevent it, but correcting it requires dental care. The primary cause of toothaches, it can produce intense pain as it progresses.
• Jaw Pain
Misaligned joints and muscles in your jaw can cause serious pain. Diagnosing the condition may reveal sinus issues, problems with TMJ (temporomandibular joint) or evidence of teeth grinding.
Tiny cracks that are invisible to you are obvious to your dentist. The solid surface of your teeth or crowns prevents bacteria from invading and creating an infection. Painful toothaches can occur when you ignore surface cracks, but your dentist can easily repair them.
Examination of your mouth by a dentist can reveal factors about your overall health that medical doctors may miss. Dental hygienists use high-tech equipment to clean your teeth and give them a sparkling appearance. Visiting your dentist twice each year is a small investment in teeth that can last a lifetime with proper care. An hour or two at your dental office every six months helps ensure the health of your teeth and gums.
I was born with dental anxiety, and I’ve had it all my life. Growing up, trips to the dentist involved being poked with sharp instruments while the dentist looked for cavities. A cavity meant submitting to the drill and enduring the ever-present possibility of great pain. I could hear the squeal of that drill in the waiting room, and I was certain that I also heard screams of dismay from whoever was unlucky enough to be sitting in the chair.
The Effect Of Dental Anxiety On Dental Hygiene
You would think that my fear of dentists and drills would have motivated me to take good care of my pearly whites. Just the opposite was true. My dental hygiene was minimal. A quick brushing in the morning was usually all I could manage, and never mind the flossing and mouthwash. I somehow developed the belief that the less I focused on what was going on inside my mouth, the less likely I would be to get cavities. This seemed to work. I had very few cavities growing up, and I ate plenty of candy.Gingivitis: An Early Dental Warning System
As a teenager, I started to get bleeding gums whenever I brushed. The dentist said I had gingivitis. That’s inflammation of the gums, and it’s caused by a bacterial infection. The dentist said if I didn’t floss and brush three times every day, the gingivitis would turn into periodontal disease which is the major cause of tooth loss. I was also told to get a cleaning and exam every six months. Rather than motivating me to take better care of my mouth, I simply continued to brush once a day, usually in the morning. Unlike periodontal disease, gingivitis is not really a big problem. Even with inflamed gums, I could still convince myself that everything was fine and that brushing in the morning was enough.
Periodontal Disease: Stuff Gets Serious
By the time I was a young adult, my gums began to protest. I was told by my dentist that I had periodontal disease. If I didn’t get gum surgery, I would lose almost every tooth within a few years! I started getting abscesses that involved some serious pain. But the dental anxiety that had so far kept me away from the dentist continued to convince me that I was better off on my own. Besides, I had no dental insurance, and the cost of gum surgery was considerable. Instead, I got antibiotics to treat the abscesses, and for the time being, it worked out quite well.
Falling Out And Moving Around
Although I had started out with an awesome smile, the periodontal disease started doing strange things in my mouth. My teeth became loose and were shifting their positions. My gums receded, the roots were exposed, and the roots were extremely sensitive to almost everything. I was getting abscesses more frequently, and the antibiotics were no longer able to kill off the infections. One day after dinner, I noticed that one of my smaller molars had vanished. Apparently, I had swallowed it. Almost every tooth was now crooked, and the gums were pulling even farther away from each tooth. I had abscesses constantly, there was significant bone loss in my jaw, and additional teeth began to fall out. I finally realized that even though I didn’t have dental insurance, I would have to fix the problem whether I had insurance or not.
The Scary Final Fix
I was told that because the periodontal disease was so advanced, every loose and crooked tooth would have to be extracted. Upper and lower partial dentures would be needed to fill in the gaps and create an even smile. The treatment involved almost ten extractions and being fitted for two partial dentures. The cost would be thousands of dollars, and the procedures were not covered by my insurance. Although I was still afraid of the dentist, I now had only two options. I could continue to ignore the problem, or I could get the job done. I made an appointment and lived in a state of terror for the week before the procedure. After looking for numerous last minute insurance plans, none would cover the treatment within the needed time frame, so I would have to pay for it myself, and it wasn’t going to be cheap.
A Happy Ending
Although I dreaded the procedure and wasn’t sure whether partial dentures would look natural, I was surprised by how well things turned out. My dentist put me under anesthesia, and the next thing I knew, I had teeth that were white, even and beautiful. I have learned from this experience. I no longer see the dentist a as predator armed with drills and pliers. I get regular cleanings, I brush and floss twice a day, I rinse with mouthwash and I visit my dentist for regular exams and cleanings. I now have a great dental plan to cover these visits, without having to pay for each visit myself. My mouth is now healthy. My only regret is that it took me so long to see that cooperating with the dentist would give me a better outcome than avoiding the dentist.