Over time, it can be easy to lapse into an attitude of “if they aren’t broken, why fix them?” about dental care. Let’s face it … going to the dentist and holding back your urge to swallow while someone pokes around in your mouth with their fingers, sharp objects, and cumbersome tools is not typically an enjoyable experience for most people. Neither is going in for your annual doctor’s visit, disrobing, and being poked, prodded, and evaluated.

Close-up photograph of a person's mouth opened wide during a dental procedure.

The difference is, some people incorrectly consider doctor’s visits somehow more important than dental visits. While dentists’ area of concern is more limited in scope than that of family practitioners, it is no less important! In fact, dentists are sometimes the first to spot the symptoms of some very serious diseases including diabetes and even leukemia. If the importance of preventive dental care isn’t enough to convince you to make and keep regular dental appointments, maybe the following facts will be!

Slacking Off on Regular Dental Appointments Can Result in Dental Emergencies

The reason the “if they aren’t broken, why fix them?” line of reasoning is not valid is that regular dental care prevents them from becoming “broken” (decayed, diseased, etc). When you are diligent about making and keeping your 6-month dental checkups, it’s highly likely that you won’t ever develop many of the conditions that fall under the “dental emergency” heading, such as severe toothache, infection that has caused a tooth abscess, severely swollen and bleeding gums, or loss of a permanent tooth due to decay. (That’s not to say you won’t ever experience a dental emergency caused by being hit in the face with a baseball or anything else on which routine dental care would have no bearing).

Dental Emergencies Will Cost You More than Regular Preventive and Restorative Dental Care

When you visit the dentist regularly, the dentist has the ability to evaluate you for anything that is amiss or out of the ordinary with your teeth or gums. If he or she does identify a dental problem, such as a cavity, it’s likely that it developed only in the months since you last visited the dentist. So, if you follow the American Dental Association recommendations to have regular dental checkups every 6 months, any problem that the dentist finds will still be in its early stage.

When a problem such as a cavity is in its early stage, it’s important to have it addressed quickly, but it is not an urgent issue that must be addressed immediately. So, if a problem is detected early, you can simply schedule a follow-up visit to have it addressed.

When a problem reaches “emergency” status, you’ll probably be in so much pain or experiencing such serious symptoms that you will need to be seen immediately – perhaps after hours, on a holiday, or on a weekend. Or perhaps your dentist will need to reschedule a preventive patient to fit you in for emergency care or place a rush order for any dental lab work you need. Any of these scenarios will typically cost you more because they require disruptions to everyone’s schedules. After all, anytime you have to “put a rush” on anything, you’ll usually pay a premium! And, if you work, you may also lose money or vacation time because you have to have an unscheduled absence.

Additionally, by the time a dental issue becomes an emergency, it’s usually too late for easy and quick fixes. The more involved the work that must be done to reverse the problem, the more expensive your dental bill will be.

Dental Emergencies May Require More Invasive, Less “Pleasant” Dental Treatments

Not only will a dental emergency cost you more, it will be less pleasant than non-emergency repairs and tweaks. If you can’t stand the thought of going to the dentist to get a filling, you won’t relish the prospect of going to the dentist to get a root canal. If you avoid your dental preventive care appointments because you consider the hygienist’s cleanings and flossing is uncomfortable, you’ll really hate the sensation of having sections of your gums folded back to access diseased gum tissue.

While you may not enjoy your regular dental checkups, maybe you’ll find them far more tolerable when you remind yourself that they help ensure that you don’t develop a dental emergency. Compared to being seen by your dentist for a dental emergency, being seen to prevent a dental emergency and receive regular professional cleanings is an easy, breezy walk in the park!

At Family Dental Care of Bellevue, we are committed to providing quality dental care to our patients and their families. We are proud to have been voted one of the best dental offices in Washington State. If you are ready to take the first steps toward improving your dental health, we invite you to call 425-643-5778 today to make an appointment for your initial consultation.

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