Lots of people are fanatical about keeping and following a “to-do” list on their phone (or, in some cases, even household appliances now display those ubiquitous lists). While others are not, I’m recommending strongly that everyone make sure you check-off your to-do list this most important item: Get a dental checkup!
The absolute worst thing a person can do to guarantee extreme and ultimately very expensive problems with their teeth and gums is to ignore signs of trouble such as pain or swelling – especially if it goes away after a short time and then does not return. In most cases, it will. And with some people’s luck, it will be at the worst time.
I have a number of patients who call me in an emergency situation – they are in extreme pain and need to see me NOW! Well, for some patients, such an emergency is no surprise. In some cases, I know that I told them they needed treatment on the tooth (say a root canal or crown) six months earlier. However, since the pain went away after the patient began taking an antibiotic, they canceled the treatment appointment and now, six months later, they’re in agony and needing immediate help.
I know it is not always easy or convenient to get in for a cleaning and see your dentist. Something is almost always demanding our time and if the pain goes away – well, it’s easy to skate on the inconvenience of an appointment.
Until the worst-case scenario appears.
The second worst thing that a person can do is fail to have proper cleanings and check-ups with their dentist. Patients should have two cleanings and exams each year (with x-rays being taken at one of them) and could have more recommended by their dentist if there is serious periodontal disease at the beginning.
Some people believe they do not have the time it takes to keep appointments and go all too many go years without a professional cleaning.
This is a big, big mistake. Just as big as ignoring needed treatment that I wrote about earlier in this blog.
It’s a terrible thing to do the “I told you so” routine, but patients who neglect their dental care will undoubtedly one day pay a much bigger price than the effort it takes for cleanings and exams.
A good analogy for this is as if a person doesn’t do proper maintenance on his or her vehicle. Hey, just think of it as changing the oil in your car. You can put it off and put it off, but one day a small problem will appear that will soon turn into a big problem… or the big problem will land all at once and then you’ll have to an engine overhaul at the very least.
The last point I’ll make today is that good oral health will help you maintain good financial health. The cost of keeping your mouth healthy is much, much less than extensive oral treatments once problems build and build until it takes more than a filling or two to fix what’s wrong.