Dental insurance is a barrier of entry for so many patients. When you have dental insurance, and you’re able to take advantage of that and use that, then there’s even an additional layer of fear that sometimes comes into play here. The first thing that I would say with respect to the fear that prevents the patients from coming in is don’t wait and delay, because oftentimes problems that are small in the mouth can be treated very easily and very comfortably for the patient without a whole lot of to do.
If you wait a long, long time, things can start to deteriorate more rapidly. And I’ve used this term before; it’s the composite image of the patient. It’s everything about them, from genetic factors to habits to lifestyle, things all combined, really identify their dental risks. We have those two diseases, gum disease and tooth decay, and depending on your composite image, you may be more at risk for one or the other.
The real issue is that dental disease, in many cases, doesn’t cause pain. So, unless the patient can identify a small disease process going on, which is pretty difficult to do, especially when it’s going on in between the teeth. It’s way easier and better for you in the long term to preserve the health of the teeth by taking care of things when you don’t have pain.
Usually, when the patient can see disease in the mouth, that’s pretty severe. And we don’t want to wait till that point where we see big, huge black spots or there’s multiple broken teeth. We know something’s going on as a patient, and you know something’s going on. But for whatever reason, that doesn’t hurt. And that’s another good point to make.
Even major dental disease doesn’t have to hurt. So, you can see something and have no pain. Toothaches aren’t a good reason to go and visit your dentist. Not having a toothache is a good reason to go and visit your dentist. I assure you that by building a good relationship with a dentist and saying, “Hey, okay, I know that there’s something going on, and even if there is something going on, can we take this slow?” or “Can I do this in sections?” or even, “Can we identify what my insurance might cover first and make a plan?”
I think that that kind of arrangement is smarter than denying yourself the ability to even have it revealed to you. So have your dentist have your partner go through the steps in the way that you want them to, or at least get some advice and then make a plan that suits you.