Inexpensive dental treatments could end up costing you more.

In the U.S., a staggering one out of every three adults doesn’t have dental benefits. And in one survey, 59% of adults reported that they avoid dentist visits due to cost

The lack of adequate dental coverage, even for those paying for dental insurance plans, is alarming. In truth, many dental plans act far more like having AAA for your mouth, with their aim being solely on prevention. By limiting coverage of restorative procedures—something most of us require at some point in our lives—and creating confusing terms to their plans, these companies leave patients confused, frustrated, and overwhelmed. 

But don’t let these aggravations keep you from receiving proper, and cheap dental treatment. Seeking out cheaper alternatives that cut corners in order to lower the cost of dental care, more often than not, causes far more harm than good. These methods may appear to cost less up front, but they always end up costing far more in the long run. 

Here are four reasons to avoid cheap dental treatments, and why you should make investing in your dental care a priority in your budget.

Investing today will save you thousands later.

Many patients believe simply pulling a tooth will be less of a hassle than receiving restoration treatments. Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple. 

A missing tooth can be as troublesome as a decaying one. Surrounding teeth begin to move and shift as gravity pulls them into the newly created gap. And without stimulation from the root of the tooth, the jawbone begins to become less dense, losing both height and width over the years. This decrease in size affects the gum line and stability of surrounding natural teeth, creating a domino effect that leads to more loose and even lost teeth.

Dental implants and bridges both restore the missing dental function and prevent this cycle of events from occurring. And while, depending on your coverage, the cost can admittedly be high, the preservative measure alone can save you thousands that having bone grafting and multiple teeth replaced would otherwise cost down the road.  

Regular dental cleanings are also an important investment that can save you from the need to pay for necessary restorations of decaying teeth. During dental cleanings, we remove any tartar that has built up between appointments. This is critical in the prevention of decay, gingivitis, and gum disease. When allowed to develop and spread, they cause significant irreversible damage that is far more costly to fix than that of the regular yearly cleanings that help to maintain an otherwise healthy mouth.

The Dangers of DIY and At-Home Treatments

At-home, cheap dental treatments, especially those found online, are not only ineffective at best but can cause severe irreversible damage. 

DIY pastes for at-home spa days made from the juice of lemons or strawberries, for example, contain citric acids and enzymes that can damage the protective enamel layer. Overuse of whitening treatments and toothpastes can also wear away this important line of defense. While enamel can be strengthened once it has been worn away, it cannot be replaced. And it is critical in protecting your teeth from decay and sensitivity. 

At-home temporary dental kits are for just that—temporary use. They should not be used as a means of replacing restoration procedures. They might improve the appearance of the tooth or even stop the pain, but they cannot stop decay from spreading. To truly save the tooth, it needs to be professionally treated.

Similarly, DIY dental cleaning tools found in drug stores can cause damage to the tooth and gums when improperly used, leading to a recessed gum line. Not only that, but tartar can be pushed deeper under the gum line, causing further problems and even the beginnings of gum disease.

Myth: No tooth pain, no problem.

It’s a common belief that if you aren’t experiencing tooth pain or discomfort, then there aren’t any dental issues. However, a lack of pain does not mean a lack of decay or inflammation. 

An abscessed tooth can not be “healed” at home or even after a course of antibiotics from a doctor. These solutions may seem effective at first, but they haven’t saved you a trip to the dentist. 

While the pain may have resided, the root cause is still at large. It will continue to create inflammation and spread infection until it is treated by the dentist. The irritant, usually tartar or decay, must be completely removed and the tooth must be restored to effectively stop it from causing further damage.

A Dental Team That Cares

It’s important to us to invest in our team and office so they are able to provide patients with the best service and care possible. This requires an adequate staff, who are sufficiently compensated, a well-equipped office, and a schedule that leaves room to give each patient the time and attention they deserve for their treatment. 

We aim to treat every patient as we would our own family and never as just another mouth in the chair. To do so, we encourage our staff to constantly grow their knowledge through advanced, continuing education trainings. We regularly invest in the office’s dental technology in order to remain up-to-date. This enables us to provide you with faster, safer, less painful, and more effective procedures.

How to Afford Treatment 

Prevention

The cheapest dentistry you can employ is to maintain a diligent dental routine. Brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day with a toothpaste containing fluoride. If you want a guaranteed thorough cleaning, invest in a rechargeable electric toothbrush. Floss every day to clean between teeth, where your toothbrush can’t reach and plaque loves to lurk.  

Do not use your teeth as tools to open packaging or bite nails. Do your best to limit consumption of acidic and sugary foods—some of the biggest culprits to enamel erosion.

If you experience tooth pain, discomfort, or signs of decay, schedule an appointment with the office as soon as you can. The earlier dental issues are taken care of, the easier and cheaper it is to restore your dental health and smile.

Work With Your Dental Team

Your dental team will always work with you to make your treatment plan work for you. We can prioritize and space out treatments as they are needed to meet both your dental and financial needs. Our team understands just how frustrating navigating benefits and financing can be for patients. We will also happily work with your insurance company to help you get the treatment you need while maximizing your benefits.