Let’s say your last dental check up went unexpectedly well. The dental hygienist encouraged more flossing, but overall the dentist gave you the thumbs up. No cavities were detected, and thankfully no gum disease was present.

Or maybe your last appointment revealed you need a root canal and a dental crown and you’re either challenged financially to follow through with the procedure or just plain don’t want to do it.

In either of these situations, extending the recommended time you return to the dentist will only lead to risks of declining dental health and possibly your overall long-term health.

When Dental Treatment Is Required, the Earlier the Better
Once it is discovered that you have a cavity, it is important that you have a dental filling done as soon as possible. If left too long, the decay can reach the dentin and there is no turning back. The conditions that can follow include:

Loss of tooth structure. This condition might require a crown, which is significantly more costly and time consuming than a filling.

An abscessed tooth or infection below the gumline. At this point you have a slim number of options, which include either a root canal or a tooth extraction. After a root canal, the tooth can become more brittle and break easier.

Oral Surgery. While an implant or dentures are progressive options to replace missing teeth, these procedures can be costly and time consuming.

Overall, the longer you put off recommended dental treatment, the more you will have to endure further complications.

The Importance of Routine Dental Care
The American Dental Association recommends having routine dental exams once or twice a year, depending on a person’s individual needs. Early detection of dental problems will always be the most affordable and simplest way to ensure the health of your teeth.

Here are the main reasons to visit the dentist on a regular basis:

  1. Removal of plaque and tartar. These are the main culprits for cavities.
  2. Prevention of gum disease. Healthy gums are ultimately necessary to hold your teeth in place.
  3. Routine X-rays. Early detection of cavities will save you more complicated dental procedures in the future.
  4. Oral cancer screening. Early detection of oral cancer provides the chance to treat it.
  5. Head, neck and lymph node checks. These exams can detect other health issues that you might have.
  6. To save money over time on dental care. The more diligence you have about routine dental care, the less dental work you will have to do.

Prevention Is Key to Your Dental Health
Besides routine dental exams, there are preventative measures you can take to ensure the longevity of your teeth.

Some preventative dental care tips include:

  1. Brush twice a day for two minutes
  2. Floss daily
  3. Schedule routine dental exams
  4. Stray away from bad habits such as nail biting, clenching your jaw, grinding your teeth, eating sticky or hard candy, and don’t smoke.

Let’s face it, we’re all human and not everyone’s teeth are perfect. Proper dental care takes work, time and investment. But in the end, following through with recommended dental procedures, scheduling regular dental visits, and practicing preventative dental care can save you unnecessary dental work, time, money and anxiety.