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Take a bite out of dental expenses
Pay now or pay more later. That’s the reality of oral health care.
While you may not enjoy a visit to the dental hygienist, it’s a preventive measure that can mean the difference between a mouth full of natural teeth and a mouth full of implants. The primary source of payment of oral health care services is out-of-pocket, as the Department of Health and Human Services shows that approximately 108 million Americans lack dental insurance.
Regardless of your insurance status, if left untreated, gum disease causes bone deterioration and eventual loss of teeth, loss of oral functions, and possible systemic infection requiring expensive treatment. Unlike many medical conditions that are self-limiting, untreated oral diseases typically become more serious and more difficult and expensive to treat.
Luckily, oral health preventive services like those provided by dental hygienists are some of the least costly health services available.
The cost-effectiveness of oral health care services provided by dental hygienists was recognized in a recent report to Congress on the health professions. Regular oral health care is required to detect and treat problems promptly, yet only about 50 percent of all Americans receive regular oral health care.
Oral health care providers know that preventing cavities and periodontal disease is cheaper than treating them; it’s essential to promote preventive intervention to the public so consumers will understand them, too.
Dental hygienists are preventive specialists who provide direct patient services and educate patients to follow preventive measures at home. Educational preparation for registered dental hygienists typically involves an average of nearly 2,000 hours of classroom study in academic subjects emphasizing basic sciences, dental sciences, and dental hygiene theory. Included as part of the 2,000 hours are at least 600 hours of supervised instruction in preclinical and clinical skills.
October is National Dental Hygiene month. There is no time like the present to implement a daily regimen of oral care in our lives.
Elizabeth (Lisa) M. Doherty is an independent practice dental hygienist and a member the ADHA.
She is located at 131 Main St. in Mexico and would be happy to answer any questions concerning preventative oral care.