Most people dread visiting their dentist because they don’t like sitting in a chair with their mouth uncomfortably wide open for an hour, and others are very sensitive and dental visits can bring on anxiety. But one of the largest factors that play into adversity toward dental visits comes from the cost, where a simple check-up, cleaning, and x-rays can shoot up well over $200, and root canals creep over the $1,000 mark.
Facts And Figures
Many might assume that individuals naturally visit the dentist regularly as part of their preventative health routine, but some of the statistics surrounding dental health are shocking. Studies performed within the last ten years or so note that at least 35% of Americans haven’t visited the dentist within the previous 12 months.
Lack of regular care and cleaning is only the start of the problem, as Americans often end up with more serious issues as a result of their stagnant attitude toward dental health. Statistics show across the board that as recently as a few years ago, nearly 20% of children ages 5-19 had untreated cavities and over 30% of individuals ages 20-44 did not seek treatment for their cavities.
These results could certainly be based on the fear of dental work, but more than likely it points to individuals not having a way to pay for the services they need. In 2012, The National Association of Dental Plans found that about 40% of Americans do not have any dental insurance at all.
What Happens When Dental Health Declines?
Perhaps many Americans are simply uninformed about the consequences of skipping regular dental care, as the threat of a little tarter build-up may not sound so bad. Unfortunately, there are a wide range of concerns that can quickly escalate if proper care isn’t sought out:
- Severe gum disease can occur as a result of going years without a dental cleaning. Undergoing a deep cleaning can involve additional tools or anesthetic that easily adds to the cost.
- Cavities will only get worse if not addressed when they’re small, and if left to decay for long enough, may result in root canals or having to completely extract the tooth.
- Prolonged oral pain lands some Americans in the hospital, where the cost of the visit alone is far more than a yearly dental cleaning.
Effects Beyond Just The Mouth
As many know, there aren’t any parts of the body that are solitary; each part affects the whole. This rule of thumb applies to dental care, as infections, gum disease, or cavities can contribute to other larger health problems.
Some of the major concerns to keep in mind include:
- Dementia: Bacteria from gum or tooth infections can enter the bloodstream and could possibly contribute to the development of this disease.
- Heart disease: Multiple parts of your cardiovascular system can be affected by stray bacteria from the mouth. Both the hardening of arteries and potential inflammation of the inner lining of the heart can lead to serious problems down the line.
- Problems with diabetes: Those who are diabetic might find it more difficult to control their blood sugar if they have dental issues.
- Lung infections: Breathing in mouth bacteria can lead to complications with our lungs, and in some individuals even lead to pneumonia.
Combating High Prices
While many Americans have a good grasp of the risks that come with avoiding dental care, how to pay for treatment remains as a practical hurdle. If you’re one of the 40% of people who are uninsured and don’t have the resources to afford a several hundred dollar bill, do you have any options?
Thankfully there are a variety of solutions for those who don’t have dental coverage, including:
- Seeking treatment from a dental school, where the individuals who clean your teeth are still learning and thus charge lower rates.
- Trying to locate an office that offers payment plans for your bill. This can help you to get a large amount of needed work done and pay for it over time.
- Being diligent about home dental care. Brushing twice a day, flossing, and even using a water pick to clean in-between teeth can go a long way toward keeping issues at bay.
- Use SingleCare! SingleCare can help uninsured users save an average of 55% on their dental care, ranging from exams to fillings. Book your next appointment today.
Monitoring your dental health should be given equal weight like many other types of preventative care. In the end, the more you can keep up on oral hygiene and correct problems before they get worse, the less costly your treatment will be.