If you’ve ever had to have major dental work done, whether it was fillings, an extraction, or a root canal, you know that it’s not fun – for your mouth or for your wallet. Major dental work can do major damage to your budget.
Fortunately, regular preventative dental care can keep your mouth healthy and help you avoid costly repairs. What exactly does “preventative dental care” mean? A few different things, actually.
See Your Dentist Regularly
The most sure-fire way to keep your dental costs down is by seeing your dentist regularly, meaning at least twice per year. Most dental insurance plans cover routine cleanings and X-rays, so there is usually minimal cost to you for these visits.
Even if you don’t have dental insurance (or very good insurance), many dental offices have other options available to help you out.
For a quick cost comparison, assume those twice-yearly visits do cost you around $400 total. Maybe that sounds like a lot. Remember, though, that $400 is helping to prevent gum disease, cavities, and other issues.
On the other hand, if you skip those visits, you probably won’t go into the dentist until you have an issue that is causing you pain or irritation. If the problem is tooth decay, you’re lucky, because a filling may only cost you a few hundred dollars. If you’re even luckier, it’s only the one filling you need. However, if the issue is something more severe, such as a root canal or many fillings, you’re looking at spending $1,000 or more.
How is that $400 sounding now? Beyond the actual financial cost, you also have to think about the pain and discomfort those preventive visits will likely save you.
You can also keep your dental costs down by taking care of your teeth at home.
No, we’re not talking about doing your own dental work (after all, we are a dental office)!
By at-home care we mean the stuff that you should be doing anyway. Those things that your parents drilled into you growing up: brushing and flossing. That’s right, simply by brushing your teeth two times per day for at least two minutes each time and flossing daily, you make it much less likely that you will have big dental issues.
Most people should use a brush with soft bristles, and if you’re interested and/or worried about your brushing technique, it may be worth looking into electric brushes. We also recommend that you use a mouthwash to get rid of any leftover particles or bacteria after brushing and flossing. Finally, drink water after meals and chew sugar-free gum if you can’t brush.
Also, when you do see your dentist, you can also ask for advice on which toothpaste may be best for you, as well as if you need any other at-home tools to keep your teeth and gums healthy in-between visits.
Watch Your Diet
Most people don’t consider “diet” part of dental care, but it really is. To keep your teeth and gums healthy, it is vital that you eat the right kinds of foods – and minimize troublesome ones.
This means avoiding sugary foods that may lead to cavities, as well as acidic foods that damage the enamel. Smoking and chewing tobacco are also big no-no’s when it comes to protecting your oral health and keeping dental costs down. Also, as we mentioned above, drink plenty of water. Certainly after meals, but also just in general.
Don’t avoid your regular dental visits because you’re afraid of the cost – these regular check-ups will prevent you from being in pain and spending even more money in the future. In addition, brush, floss, and rinse like you’re supposed to and you’ll be in good shape.