No doubt you probably know: the emergency room is expensive. In an effort to cut down non-emergency emergency room visits, many of the major healthcare providers have tacked on addition fees for visiting the emergency room. As much as many could argue the inadequacies of our current healthcare system, the fact is that in this area, healthcare providers might have a point. In fact, a recent study from the International Journal for Quality in Health Care found that a large percentage of emergency room visits were completely avoidable.
In this case, “avoidable” means that “no diagnostics” or “treatments” were necessary, and the patients were discharged. Out of the many categories of avoidable emergency room visits, the second most common was visits due to dental concerns.
Why It’s Important to See a Dentist
Most people have a primary care doctor that they go to consistently when they need a checkup, a diagnosis, or a treatment. But having a regular dentist is just as important as having a regular doctor. The mouth can be a gateway to the rest of the body for disease, and maintaining excellent oral health is step one to maintaining excellent overall health.
This doesn’t just mean that you should have a dentist you’re prepared to go to in case of emergencies. This also means that you should be seeing that dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings. If fact, according to the American Dental Association, you should be seeing your dentist for a cleaning every six months to remove tartar buildup and to check on the health of your mouth. When plaque hardens into tartar, trapping bacteria against your teeth and encouraging decay, you can no longer remove it at home. Your dentist can clean off that tartar and save you from developing cavities.
Don’t Let Dental Issues Become Emergencies
Of course, if you don’t see a dentist regularly, minor issues can spiral into dental emergencies. Rather than winding up in the emergency room with a painful, terrifying dental crisis, it’s better to practice preventive care with consistent visits.
But for people with dental anxiety, it isn’t always that easy. Fear of visiting the dentist can keep patients from seeing their dentist when they should, allowing small scale dental problems to worsen into emergencies that require complex, stress-inducing procedures to solve.
Unfortunately, this is a vicious cycle that can sometimes result in those who are the most afraid of the dentist having to undergo the most serious dental procedures. Luckily, you have options. Sedation dentistry can control dental anxiety so you can get the dental care you need — whether that’s a simple cleaning or a complex procedure — without having to pay a visit to the emergency room.
If you’re looking for a dentist who can help preserve, protect, and promote your oral health, and to help you avoid the emergency room, please call (907) 349-0022 or Contact us today for an appointment at Excellence in Dentistry.