Unfortunately, while the myth persists that dentists view regular appointments as the chance to turn a quick buck, the truth of the matter is it doesn’t take long for healthy teeth to deteriorate or periodontal disease to take a hold.
When you have a car, you need to have it serviced regularly. You get it serviced even though the car isn’t giving you any problems, because a service is cheaper than going to the mechanic when you have a breakdown. It’s the same with your teeth. You may not have any problems right now, but if you wait until something goes wrong.
And while we always hope you are the exception rather than the rule, this happens faster for some than for others.
There are a myriad of reasons why visiting your dentist at least twice a year is a good idea. Just because your teeth are not giving you any grief currently is no guarantee there are no issues with your oral health that you need to be concerned about.
There is also a tonne of evidence available that proves the link between poor oral health and diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart problems.
By fixing things early, we are able to save clients’ money. I am constantly amazed at how quickly dental disease progresses. For many clients, there can be so much build-up of tartar on their teeth that they have little hope of fixing all the problems going on underneath it.
Many believe that you should go to the dentist once or twice a year. But there’s no hard-and-fast rule on that. Your dentist will actually tailor your check-up intervals to you, based on a whole pile of risk factors to dental disease: your oral hygiene, your genetic history, the current state of your oral health, your motivation for ongoing maintenance and more.
Once these types of issues have been considered, it’s necessary for some clients to undertake quite a few visits to keep a lid on plaque build-up or other oral diseases that may have taken hold.
The financial component is another reason some clients cite for not undertaking more regular oral health check-ups.
It’s important that we eliminate this type of thinking as ultimately the client will save money in the long-term if dentists are given the chance to nip potential problems in the bud early, rather than leaving them until it’s too late.
When the worst happens, some clients miss scheduled appointments or break contact altogether — either through embarrassment or in fear that their dentist may stand in judgement of them for allowing their oral health to deteriorate. This could not be further from the truth.
For this reason, my team and I always make it a priority to ensure clients who are a little fearful are made to feel safe and comfortable in my clinic.
Good habits start early. Ideally, they should start in childhood. Getting kids to come to the dentist on a regular basis makes the dental practice a familiar environment. Of course, it’s never too late to start regular appointments, and we make our practice as friendly and welcoming as possible.
As part of this, we make a point of complimenting phobic clients on the hurdles they have already conquered in just making an appointment in the first place as we are only too aware what a significant step this is for many people.
Ultimately, it’s our job to educate our clients, rather than lecturing them. We show them how important regular check-ups are in order to maintain good oral health.
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