June 6, 2019
When it’s time for your six-month dental checkup and cleaning, are you the type of person who is preparing for the big day, or are you looking for ways to get out of seeing your dentist in Richardson? Whether it’s dental anxiety or a busy schedule that has you seeking a way out, your decision to avoid a dental appointment can lead to various oral health problems. Before picking up the phone to “reschedule,” learn about the potential issues you can face by skipping your routine dental visit.
1. Tooth Decay
Even if you brush and floss your teeth at home, a thorough cleaning by a dental professional is vital to keeping tooth decay at bay. Should you have a tooth that is decaying, it can result in needing a filling. Cavities, while they are one of the most common problems seen by dentists, are not something to take lightly. If a cavity isn’t cleaned and filled in a timely manner, the decay can travel to the inner portion of the tooth, creating immense pain and the need for a root canal. In the most serious cases, if a root canal cannot save the tooth, an extraction will be necessary.
2. Gum Disease
Your teeth aren’t the only part of your smile that are at risk for disease and infection. If your gums become red, inflamed, and bleed when you brush or floss, you are experiencing gum disease. During a regular dental visit, the hygienists will check to see if any gum pockets are developing, and if so, gum disease therapy such as a deep cleaning can be administered to remove any plaque buildup. Unfortunately, if you skip your appointment and the gum disease worsens into periodontitis, it can lead to bone and tooth loss.
3. Loss of Teeth
Missing teeth can be extremely problematic for a patient. Whether it’s one, multiple, or all your teeth, it’s imperative that you seek dental care as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the greater your chances of bone loss and additional tooth loss. You may also experience changes in your facial appearance. If you have missing teeth and need a replacement solution, dental implants or dentures are two viable options. However, if you’ve yet to lose any teeth, a dentist might be able to suggest other methods of preventive or restorative care to prevent tooth loss and the need for tooth replacement restorations.
A toothache is painful enough, but if you develop an abscess, the pain can go from mild to debilitating quite quickly. Regular dental cleanings can prevent infections from worsening or even developing in the first place. Abscess teeth often require hospitalization or oral surgery, which means more money out of your pocket and more time spent in the dentist chair.
5. Oral Cancer
This is probably one of the most underrated reasons to go to the dentist. According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 50,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer in 2019, and only half of that number will be alive 5 years from now. Early detection is key with this disease, and your dentist is your frontline ally in the fight against oral cancer. With a thorough check-up of your mouth, neck, and throat, any signs or causes for concern can be addressed immediately, making your chances even greater for successful treatment.
So, whether it’s cost, fear, pain, or time that’s keeping you from seeing your dentist, it’s time to reprioritize your oral health. Remember, your dental team is available to help, so if you’re worried about the cost, talk to a team member who can discuss insurance coverage and financing. If it’s fear or pain, talk to your dentist about sedation options to make you comfortable during your visit. And if it’s time, look for ways to seek help from others, so you can take care of your oral and overall health.
About the Author
Dr. Chris C. Richards, DDS, graduated from Baylor University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education. After achieving his undergraduate degree, he went on to attend the University o Oklahoma College of Dentistry and earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree. A firm believer in the importance of continuing education, Dr. Richards participates in monthly learning opportunities so he can better serve his patients. He and the team at McDougal and Richards Dentistry believe in the importance of preventive care, which is why regularly scheduled appointments are highly encouraged. For questions about our services, or to learn more about Dr. Richards, contact us at (972) 231-5376.
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