Good dental health is critical to overall well-being

The U.S. Surgeon General recognizes oral health as an integral part of a person’s total health, with the dentist being the primary oral health care provider.

The vast majority of dental diseases are infectious, irreversible and destructive. They can only be successfully diagnosed and treated by a licensed doctor of dental surgery (DDS) or dental medicine (DMD) with support from a qualified dental staff.

Regular, preventive care is an affordable choice

Regular exams, X-rays and preventive care protect against advanced dental disease, saving individuals pain, dollars and time in the dental chair over the long term.

Over a 12-month period in Wisconsin, the cost of two routine cleanings, dental exams and a set of X-rays (necessary for comprehensive and accurate dental diagnosis) averages $26 per month (2013 Schenck Dental Fee Survey). This is less per month than the average cellphone bill of $63 per month (2010 Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Survey).

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Oral Health Program reports that in 2010, more than 27,860 patient visits to hospital emergency departments statewide were for non-traumatic dental complaints. The average cost per dental-related visit was $420 (averages $35 per month).

Dental ‘insurance’ not required

A dental benefit plan or “dental insurance” is not required to see a dentist.

Patients should carefully review the cost of a dental benefit plan before purchase by comparing the average annual cost of a household’s dental bills with the proposed 12 monthly premium payments for “dental insurance”. It may make more financial sense to pay out-of-pocket for dental care than to pay a monthly premium.

Dental offices help patients make their oral health a priority with treatment plans and payment options: Cash, check, debit card, personal credit card, patient credit agreements, third-party financing plans and/or installments (usually reserved for long-term patients who dentists know well).

Choose good oral health

Individuals have a lot of control over their dental health. Parents make good dental health a family priority when they model good personal oral hygiene habits and help children make teeth brushing and flossing a part of their daily routine.

Good personal oral hygiene practices include:

  • Brush teeth with fluoridated toothpaste and a soft-bristle brush for two minutes, twice a day
  • Floss daily
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Minimize consumption of acidic, sugary beverages, such as soft drinks, fruit juice and sports drinks
  • Drink fluoridated water
  • Don’t use tobacco products
  • Make regular visits to the dentist for a professional exam, cleaning and X-rays
  • Ask your dentist about fluoride applications/supplements and sealants
  • Treat dental disease in the early stages

Congratulations on making your dental health a priority!

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