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Is the Cost Stopping You From Visiting the Dentist?

You work hard for your money. When you get your paycheque, you want to spend it on things that you want, not necessarily things that you need.

  • A night out with friends.
  • A weekend getaway.
  • A relaxing day at the spa.

And you deserve those things. Treating yourself once in a while is great for your mental health, which connects directly to your physical health. But if you want to make sure that your overall health is where it should be, then you need to focus on your body as a whole, especially your mouth.

Ignoring the dentist because you don’t want to spend the cash could cost you more than just money in the long run. So why are you avoiding making an appointment?

I can’t afford to visit the dentist every six months

If you’ve been avoiding getting your pearly whites examined because of the cost, you’re one of approximately 6.8 million Canadians. Without insurance, visits to your dentist can seem like a debt sentence, especially if you’ve been taught that you have to visit every six months.

But who decided that you have to visit twice a year? When dental insurance companies first started offering their services in the 1970s, they recommended that patients book appointments twice a year to standardize their yearly benefit offerings. In other words, visiting the dentist every six months may not be the right schedule for you.

How often should I visit the dentist?

As more research is done into the best ways to protect your teeth, the answer has never been more clear: it depends on the person. Your dentist will look for a few things to determine how often you should visit them: plaque or stains on your teeth and bleeding gums when you brush or floss daily. With that being said, the general rule of thumb is for you to visit your dentist for a cleaning just before the plaque and calculus starts to build and your gums start to bleed.

If you don’t know how often to book appointments, your dentist can help you find out by having slightly longer intervals between each appointment to find out your break point. The intervals vary from 3-12 months and everything in between. No two people are the same, as there are factors like medical conditions, medications, hormonal factors, and genetics involved.

Do I have to visit the dentist more if my gums bleed when I brush or floss?

Imagine you’re taking a shower at the end of a long day. You start to work the shampoo into your scalp, giving yourself a mini massage, when your head starts to bleed. Would you chalk that up as a normal experience or would you visit a medical professional right away?

If your gums bleed when you brush your teeth, it is a signal from your body that you have an infection around your teeth. Once the infection sets in, it’s going to take more than brushing, flossing, and will-power to get rid of it. You will need help from a dental hygienist who can flush out the bacteria from the pockets of gum around each tooth.

What can I expect at my first dentist appointment after missing years of appointments?

Whether it’s been one year or 15 years since your last appointment, you should always experience a judgement-free zone when you return. Your dentist should want the best for you, and that includes making sure that you don’t feel any guilt or embarrassment.

It depends on the office, but when you book your first appointment with Dr. Stevens, you will undergo a non-judgemental comprehensive exam that includes:

  • X-rays to look for cavities, tooth infection, gum disease, and sometimes even cancer
  • Digital photographs of your teeth for visual records and education purposes
  • A full dental exam that lists all of your teeth and describing their condition, measurements, bite, and the condition of your gums
  • Recommendations for how to treat any problem areas

In the case of problem areas, sometimes little treatment is needed, and sometimes lots of treatment is recommended. In the end, it is your choice to decide what to do with the information you’ve been given.

The first appointment usually takes about an hour and a half. The results of your exam will determine when you should go back. If it’s been a while since your last visit and your gums show signs of disease, the hygienist will usually want to see you at least three months after they’ve cleaned your teeth to see how well your gums respond to treatment. From there they can tweak their recommendations for the best at-home treatments and for when to return to the office.

How much does a visit to the dentist cost?

There is not a set fee for every office. The cost varies depending on the office and the services provided and it can seem outrageously high. You might be thinking that paying hundreds of dollars for a single appointment isn’t worth it, but how often do you spend the same amount on other things?

  • Nights out with friends
  • Tickets to see your favourite band play
  • A new outfit

We’re not judging your decisions on how you spend your money, but investing in your teeth and gums is a long-term investment for the future, not just for one night.

A healthy mouth is so much more than a nice smile. It gives you the peace of mind knowing that the simple things you do every day are a little more healthy. Things like eating your favourite foods, drinking your favourite beverage, breathing in clean air, catching up with old friends, and kissing the ones you love have the power to be healthy or unhealthy. You owe it to yourself to make sure that the things you love the most are as healthy as possible.

If you want a dentist who sees you as a person and not just a dollar amount, reach out to Dr. Andrea Stevens.

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