What you can do to reduce cost of dental care

Among the many economic challenges facing Canadians today is the cost of dental care.  For those individuals and families who do not have dental expenses reimbursed by an employee benefits dental insurance plan, major restorative dental treatment can be prohibitively expensive.

Fortunately, there are many approaches that can be taken to reduce significantly the cost of dental care.  Consider the following list of practical and easy-to- implement suggestions:

Remember 98% of all dental disease is preventable.  A sensible home care program including brushing, flossing and mouth rinse will often save thousands of dollars in restorative dental expenses over a lifetime.  My patients have heard this line many times: “Floss is the most inexpensive and best form of prevention around”

Practise proper nutrition
The importance of proper diet and nutrition in preventing dental disease is often overlooked and under-rated. Sticky sugars are not the only culprit – foods and beverages which are highly acidic contribute to both cavities and root sensitivity.

Visit the dental office for preventive maintenance
Preventive cleaning and check-up visits for the typical adult patient will cost approximately $300-400 per year, much less than the cost of fillings, crowns, root canals, extractions, bridges, implants, dentures and any other expenses arising from dental neglect.

Deal with small problems immediately
Don’t ignore early warning signs.  Symptoms such as bleeding gums, sensitivity to hot, cold or sweet foods, rough edges on fillings, food trapping and bad taste or odour are all indicative of a problem. Waiting till the problem escalates only increases dental expenses (exponentially!).

Discuss treatment options with your dentist
There are many instances when a less costly treatment option can be pursued as an interim measure, until such time as the ideal treatment can be undertaken.

Discuss payment options with your dentist
Many dental offices offer payment plans to help patients ease the burden of dental expenses by spreading the cost over time.

The common thread in all of these suggestions is the importance of prevention. You wouldn’t consider making a major purchase such as an automobile, and then not doing the basic preventive maintenance such as regular oil changes.  Why then would you consider treating your mouth any worse than your car?  Not only is prevention beneficial for oral health, but also for general and heart health.  The correlation between oral health and heart health is now well established and accepted, and as a result every ounce of prevention is worth many pounds of cure.

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