A recent report from the Bureau of Health shows that many people in NSW are skipping health procedures like GP visits, prescriptions, and medical tests because they don’t want to pay the out-of-pocket costs. One of the most common items on their list of budget cuts? Visits to the dentist. One third of people didn’t see the dentist last year because of the cost.
This is a shame because making your regular appointments is a great way to actually save money.
Prevention and Early Detection Save Money
One of the biggest money savers in dentistry is prevention. You do a lot of the preventative work at home by brushing and flossing your teeth, but your dentist has a vital role to play, too. Cleaning your teeth professionally can make a big difference in cavity prevention, but especially for gum disease.
The other biggest money saver in dentistry is early detection. If we can detect a place where you’re not cleaning well that might turn into a cavity, we might be able to tell you to clean there better before it becomes a cavity. Then you can avoid getting any kind of filling or other treatment.
You might think that cavities grow slowly, so skipping one appointment won’t make a big difference. But cavities can actually grow quickly. A small cavity becomes a place where food gets trapped and bacteria can be sheltered from your toothbrushing. As they reproduce, there are more bacteria producing more acid, which can accelerate the rate at which cavities expand.
Oral Health Reduces General Healthcare Costs
And if you make your dentist visits regularly, you won’t just be saving on dental costs. A recent study performed in the US showed that getting treatment for gum disease saves money on other health conditions like heart attack, stroke, and diabetes. The study looked at people who had gum disease and other health conditions, like coronary artery disease, cerebral vascular disease, and diabetes.
They then found that people who had their gum disease treated spent a lot less money on their other health conditions. They spent $1176 less a year on treating coronary artery disease, $3065 less a year on treating diabetes, and $6134 less a year on treating cerebral vascular disease. It’s true that healthcare costs are higher in the US, but it shows the impact that your oral health can have not just on your health, but also on the cost of your health treatments.
If you are looking at your budget and looking for ways to save, don’t make the costly mistake of skipping your next dentist appointment.