The secret is simple—regular preventive maintenance visits. In general, people who want to keep their teeth all of their life will spend less money if they follow their dentist’s recommended maintenance interval than if they only make appointments when they have symptoms.

This may seem counter intuitive, but I can support this from my own observations over the years. Often I will see a patient who has not been in for many years because they lost their dental insurance and did not want to pay for maintenance out of pocket. They present with problems that will cost much more to repair than what they would have spent on preventive visits and early treatment. In addition the outcome and the longevity of the repair will not be as good.

The statistics are pretty consistent over the years. About half of the population understands the value and has a dental visit at least once a year. The other half does not. Unless you are unusually resistant to both dental decay and gum disease, you are not saving money by staying away from the dentist. The CDC estimates that approximately 1/3 of the population has untreated dental decay. By the time that cavity starts to hurt, you will be facing a much greater expense than the cost of early diagnosis and treatment.

Bottom line: economics are not a good reason to avoid the dentist. Next time we will address the other major barrier—FEAR.

Yours for excellent dental health,
Dr. S