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During tough economic times, people will often delay routine dental care until a toothache, chipped tooth, cracked tooth or other problem forces them to see a dentist. There are only so many dollars to go around when the finances are tight, and people are looking for a way to save money, not necessarily trying to catch up on their oral health.

Many patients who had been coming in every six months for routine maintenance are now coming back once a year. Some individuals will even wait for two or three years. People report that they have lost their job and their insurance, so perhaps they didn’t get that filling done. That’s how it turns into a root canal and a crown, or even extraction of the tooth.

Generally speaking, preventive care is far less expensive than advanced care such as periodontal treatment, crowns, root canal, extractions, etc. Early dental treatment is simply more cost-effective. In fact, the cost of providing preventive dental treatment is estimated to be 10 times less than the cost of managing symptoms of dental disease in a hospital emergency room.

Related: Don’t Let a Toothache Ruin Your Vacation

Here are some of the most important reasons for not delaying that visit to the dentist:

It will cost you more financially. People who avoid the dentist can only do so for so long. When you start getting severe toothaches, you will then be motivated to finally make an appointment. The longer you wait, though, the more likely it is that you’ll have to undergo painful and expensive treatments.

You may experience tooth loss. Tooth loss is one of the most serious consequences of avoiding the dentist. Almost all problems affecting the teeth and gums are treatable if they are addressed in a timely manner. However, if you ignore warning signs and don’t get regular checkups, you can lose your teeth. This can occur due to advanced periodontal disease or from tooth decay that goes untreated for too long.

Delays can cause painful toothaches. Cavities and other dental problems become painful if they remain untreated. Sometimes people ignore problems like pain when chewing or sensitivity to hot or cold foods because the pain isn’t severe. If you don’t address the cause, however, the pain is likely to get worse over time.

It will increase the chances of gum disease. Periodontal or gum disease is a widespread problem that can have many harmful effects on your health. This is not something that occurs overnight, but usually results from long-term neglect of the teeth and gums. If neglected, this can lead to painful inflammations and other complications.

Final Thoughts

If you go to the dentist at least once per year, he or she will usually be able to catch any problems in the early stages. This makes your visits fairly simple and pain free. Avoiding the dentist, however, ends up bringing about the things you fear the most – pain and large bills. Do you really want to walk around with a chronic toothache? It’s much better to go to the dentist at the first sign of discomfort and get the problem taken care of.

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