Ask Austin Family Dental: Should I Skip the Dentist?
When times are tough, especially during a crashed economy or an unexpected hike in bills, the first thing that comes to mind is to literally cut out anything deemed extra. Sometimes preventative care like checkups at the doctor’s office or dentists is the first thing to go. This often comes from the logic of “If there is nothing immediately wrong, then we will not address it.” And to some extent, it makes sense for the moment. If you are going to need to make a choice between a dental cleaning and a fixed air conditioner, no one would blame you.
However, what happens if you get into a habit? What happens when you skip the dentist for two or even five years? What if your child does not even see a dentist until there is an emergency? There are unforeseen consequences for every decision we make. So, let’s talk about them to head them off.
Enough Skipped Dental Visits can Cause Long Term Dental Damage
The average dentist will recommend a twice a year visit to get a dental cleaning. In a one-off instance of skipping an appointment is not too bad. While it is certainly not ideal, it will at the most cause damage that is reversible. At the worst, there would be some cavities with some excess plaque, swollen gums, and redness. Most of which can be reduced with daily brushing, flossing, and rinsing with Flouride mouthwash.
But when the skipping starts to become habitual, it can become a greater long-term problem.
At one year, deep stains set in. And at two? Even five? Those minor problems become far more severe. Ranging from gum loss, tooth decay, temperature sensitivity, to the need for cyst removal.
And that doesn’t even touch on the other effects of consistent dental appointment skipping. Things like heart disease, types of cancer, and diabetes are related to the harmful bacteria found in plaque. Food, air, or water can knock plaque off from a tooth and fall into the digestive system. Or dig down into the gumline.
Skipping Dental Appointments Can Create Mental Trauma
Most of our fears, whether recent or old, often stem from a lack of understanding and a sense of vulnerability. And when you put someone in a first-time situation with pain and vulnerability, that is a recipe for creating a dentophobia. This sort of phobia is not only good for the health of first-time dental visitors but is also counterproductive to healthy dental habits.
When a person develops a phobia related to a person or place, they are going to avoid any mention of it. And if a child develops a phobia around something that is for required maintenance, it will create a literal avoidance of getting proper dental care. And avoidant behavior is the last thing a person needs to do when it comes to going to the dentist.
How bad is this avoidant behavior? Between economic issues, dentophobia, and the lack of availability of nonspecialists in given areas, 1/3rd of the entire US adult population does not go to the dentist regularly. And the kicker? The lowest rate of attendance belongs to the South.
What Could Patients Do to Regularly Go to the Dentist in Austin, Texas?
Basically, what dentists in Austin, Texas and everywhere else in the country need to do is to find the practitioners that are willing to help you with your concerns.
- If you are worried about affordability, then look into local events that provide free dental care for children and adults. They are often held annually, depending on the charity and are backed by statewide dental associations. Do some online research and find them.
- Or alternatively, you can look into dentists who offer discounts, in-office insurance, or payment plans. A good one will put a price list on their website, or at least a ballpark estimate. Or you can call and ask questions yourself.
- Educate yourself on how you can make your or your child’s first dental visit more comfortable. There are relaxation techniques, that can help decrease the feeling of vulnerability.
- Or, you can look up various medical articles to find ways to learn about or explain to your family about the consequences of long term dental neglect.
Simply put, there are ways around skipping much needed dental appointments. Whatever the reasoning behind it, there is almost a way you can gain control over the issue. It’s just a matter of looking into other resources.
If you have any questions or are looking for a dentist in the Austin, Texas area, feel free to visit: www.austinfamilydentist.com