Dental Procrastination = $$
If you’ve read through the pages on our website, you know that our dental philosophy stresses prevention of dental problems. This is important because dental procrastination is expensive.
Last fall, I received a call from an out-of-state relative who hadn’t seen his dentist for over 2 years. He had no symptoms suggesting potential dental problems. When he went in for an exam, cleaning, and updated x-rays, though, his dentist found a tooth with a cavity. The dentist started to remove the decay, but it was extensive enough that he ended up recommending a root canal and a crown. This relative had the benefit of dental insurance but had neglected to schedule regular dental appointments. When discovered early, dentists can often fix cavities with small fillings. Because our relative’s problem was not discovered in its early stages, however, he underwent more expensive and extensive dental treatment.
Dental procrastination is common. Every week, I see patients who have delayed scheduling an appointment to address a dental problem. Unfortunately, I also routinely see patients who – because of the delay in scheduling recommended dental treatment – need more extensive treatment than originally recommended.
Dental Procrastination Factors
Dental procrastination happens for many reasons. Patients have busy work and personal lives. Some patients have avoidance issues with dental procedures. Other patients have financial issues which impact their choices. A recent Washington Post article dealing with dental procrastination noted that postponing dental care can be expensive. The story cited a recent study on the high level of dental care needs being postponed relative to other medical care, many times due to cost. Studies like the one cited are why I regularly volunteer at Mission Medical’s dental clinic and other free clinics such as Colorado Mission of Mercy.
New Year’s Resolution 2018
If you can afford regular dental care, and especially if you have dental insurance, make a New Year’s resolution to address problems when they’re small and easily treatable. Food for thought: many dental plans cover up to 80% of the cost of fillings while only covering 50% of more expensive procedures such as crowns. Remember, dental procrastination can be expensive!