Author Topic: Are frequent dental visits worth it?  (Read 11426 times)

Weedy Acres

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Are frequent dental visits worth it?
« on: January 22, 2015, 07:29:57 PM »
I don't have dental insurance.  I have good teeth: only a couple cavities in my life (I'm late 40's), never had braces, never had any other issues.  In the past (ironically in times when I had dental insurance) I've gone 5 years between visits, and other than a whole lot of plaque build-up that the hygienist got to tackle, had no ill effects.

It costs me around $200 out of pocket now to get my teeth cleaned and xrayed, and for the dentist to poke around a bit.  Do I really need to do this every year?

Part of my hesitation is that dentistry seems to have gotten more "upsell-ish."  Current dentist automatically puts oral cancer screening on the recommended list (another $60) when I've got no habits that would indicate the need.  Past dentist (or hygienist) tried to talk me into teeth whitening.  So I'm more suspicious now about the potential of their "finding" something that isn't real.

AH013

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Re: Are frequent dental visits worth it?
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2015, 07:35:51 PM »
1)  Groupon
2)  $39-$69 "New Patient" dental visits (cleaning, xrays, exam) to a 'new to you' dentist
3)  "You suggest I need what procedure?....Ok, let me check my calendar when I get back home and call you with a date that works to schedule that."
4)  (Do not call back)

Rinse, repeat.

If you're lucky you may live near a dental school.  They do free or discounted cleanings for practice or exams.  Best part?  They have no reason to lie and say you need unnecessary procedures.

Bob W

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Re: Are frequent dental visits worth it?
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2015, 07:36:39 PM »
It appears you already know your answer.  Floss or water pic daily.   Brush after all meals.  Use whitening gel.  Imho

justajane

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Re: Are frequent dental visits worth it?
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2015, 07:38:48 PM »
I have parents who did not grow up with adequate dental care, and I am forever grateful that they faithfully took me to the dentist every 6 months. Because I've seen how bad dental problems can be, I am of the mind to think that $200 a year is a pretty minimal cost to ensure that you don't have pain and still have teeth when you are older.

Anecdotally, my husband is 40 and just had a cavity. They can happen at any point, and you will probably not be able to know.

If you decide not to go to the dentist yearly, I would at least suggest that you scrupulously brush, floss, and use mouthwash to ensure that you keep your mouth very clean.

caliq

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Re: Are frequent dental visits worth it?
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2015, 07:44:13 PM »
If you go regularly, won't you be less likely to believe/"need" whatever they're upselling or saying is urgent?  Just go to a different dentist every time, or rotate between 2 every 6 months.  That way if one of them tries to get you to agree to something you think is unnecessary, you'll know that you're probably fine since the other hasn't noticed it.   

mxt0133

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Re: Are frequent dental visits worth it?
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2015, 07:59:05 PM »
If you don't feel any sensitivity in your teeth then you more than likely don't need an X-ray.  I get an X-ray every 3 years, I don't like radiation.

As for the plaque that I take more seriously, if the plaque builds up then bacteria can grow in the gum line, inflammation can occur, then gingivitis, and then you loose your teeth.  That is why I used to go to the dentist three times a year for cleaning until I learned how to floss properly.  I personally believe flossing is more important the brushing (assuming you don't drink soda, sugary fluids, eat candy, chocoloate, ect).  Look in youtube on how to floss effectively and do it at least twice a day.

GizmoTX

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Re: Are frequent dental visits worth it?
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2015, 08:00:38 PM »
Our family has never had dental insurance, but we all get our teeth cleaned & checked twice a year. Stuff happens over time, & prevention is much better than having to fix neglect, shifting teeth, and/or decay. Unchecked plaque can lead to gingivitis & the need for expensive & invasive oral surgery to prevent tooth & gum loss.

You may need another dentist. Our dentist is competitive & does the oral cancer check but doesn't charge extra for it.

My mother had to have all her molars pulled for dentures when she was in her 40s. I swore that would never happen to me if I could help it. In my early 20's, my mouth chemistry changed & I suddenly developed cavities on the tops of 12 molars. I've since battled excessive plaque & gingivitis, all of which are likely genetic gifts, but after 45 years I've yet to get another cavity or lose an erupted tooth. DS & I both had impacted wisdom teeth, which are best removed as a teenager to avoid possible nerve damage. The oral surgeon gave us a much better cash price than the insurance price.

IMHO, dental insurance is simply pre-paying in advance. If you need enough services & the insurance is priced competitively, great. We've never needed braces or other ongoing dental services, so paying privately for preventative care is cost effective for us.


bogart

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Re: Are frequent dental visits worth it?
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2015, 08:25:38 PM »

Current dentist automatically puts oral cancer screening on the recommended list (another $60) when I've got no habits that would indicate the need. 

I find it weird this isn't included in the standard cleaning/checkup -- my dentist does.  Maybe find another dentist?  You can add me to the list of commenters enthusiastic about the importance of taking care of our teeth (including regular dental visits/cleanings), though.

fa

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Re: Are frequent dental visits worth it?
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2015, 08:32:49 PM »
You may need another dentist. Our dentist is competitive & does the oral cancer check but doesn't charge extra for it.

dental insurance is simply pre-paying in advance

Agreed.  Oral cancer screening is part of a proper exam.  Should not require an additional fee.

Dental "insurance" is not insurance.  It is indeed prepaid dentistry.  Very different than real insurance.  Medical is real insurance, dental is not.

dividendman

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Re: Are frequent dental visits worth it?
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2015, 08:33:53 PM »
I think dentists for the most part are a scam.

I didn't go to the dentist in 15 years (my teeth weren't hurting... had dental coverage and still do at MegaCorp). I decided to go for a checkup. The dentist then suggest I pull wisdom teeth do this and that, xray the shit out of my face and that i needed deep cleaning etc. My teeth look amazing btw.
So at first I'm believing what this person is saying. Then I delay some of the treatment and they send reminders to me indicating that I still have insurance coverage to use. I asked around at work and it turns out, they offer a LOT of services while you have coverage to burn through and then abruptly stop when you don't. It's crazy.

I get if your teeth are hurting seeing the dentist, otherwise, take care of your teeth and that's it.

takeahike

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Re: Are frequent dental visits worth it?
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2015, 10:19:42 PM »
I found a dentist that isn't pushy. I go about a couple of years. I faithfully went every 6 months until my mid 30's, then I just got so slammed with my schedule that I started slacking off, and nothing bad happened. So, now I feel a bit concerned when I haven't been in awhile, but so far so good. I think once a year is probably adequate for most. I like having great teeth. I take very good care of them at home though. Sonic toothbrush, floss, low sugar intake.

Nudelkopf

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Re: Are frequent dental visits worth it?
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2015, 10:20:31 PM »
The only dentist my Dad's ever been to is the "Bush Dentist"... AKA a pair of pliers and a spoon of cement. That being said, his teeth are shit and he doesn't have many left.

I'm happy to spend $200 per year on being able to chew and look good. I don't have dental cover, though I had braces and 4x wisdom teeth removed as a teenager. I think it's also part of looking professional. I'd be totally judging another professional with stained or unaligned teeth.

takeahike

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Re: Are frequent dental visits worth it?
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2015, 10:20:51 PM »
Oral cancer screening is probably a good thing. It is on the rise.

dragoncar

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Re: Are frequent dental visits worth it?
« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2015, 11:40:43 PM »
I'd be most worried about your gums -- you could probably check your pocket depth yourself.  If you brush and floss regularly with no issues like bleeding or pain, you might not need any regular care.

That said, see if there's a dental school nearby.  They are usually cheaper and sometimes extra cheap if you are low income.

pancakes

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Re: Are frequent dental visits worth it?
« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2015, 12:02:02 AM »
I go to a different dentist every time.

For 10 years now every dentist I go to tells me that my teeth show early signs of decay and on the next visit they will need to book me in for some fillings. 10 years ago I was told I'll need to get something done in 6 months time and yet here I am today still with no work done. If you believed the sell of the dentist my teeth should be rotted through by now.

I know teeth don't last forever and eventually I'll need something done but I'm not going to get unnecessary work done early.

Oh I tell a lie. I had my wisdom teeth out and had to have that done in hospital under a general anaesthetic. Those teeth never made it out of my gums though.

sandramyers

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Re: Are frequent dental visits worth it?
« Reply #15 on: January 23, 2015, 04:34:41 AM »
I think doing regular visit to doctor would help in maintaining oral care, as nowadays by eating the junk foods there is a high intensity of getting gum diseases. I have been searching about the natural oral care, as natural ingredients help in preventing from inflammation and other gum diseases. You may check it out here.

MayDay

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Re: Are frequent dental visits worth it?
« Reply #16 on: January 23, 2015, 05:23:09 AM »
We've gone through multiple upsell dentists.

Now we've finally found a "let's wait and see" dentist. I've seen him for 2.5 years and this last visit he did an xray, showed me the spot, told me we didn't need to do anything yet because of its size, and advised that I could reverse the decay by the next appointment and avoid a filling.

H also sees him and has experienced the same philosophy.

But that kind of dentist seems to be a needle in a haystack. We happened to find him through word of mouth.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2015, 05:49:16 AM by MayDay »

boarder42

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Re: Are frequent dental visits worth it?
« Reply #17 on: January 23, 2015, 05:43:01 AM »
My dad was a dentist for 30+ years and got numerous patients who came to him for second opinions.  For instance my brother's fiance came to him after her dentist told her she need over 5k worth of work done.  She needed about 300 of actual work done.  Its a shady marketplace i havent had to learn to deal with since i have family in the business but always get second and even 3rd opinions of big operations.  as for insurance ours is cheap like 60 bucks pre tax a year from my wife's work so it costs us around 41 bucks each a year and includes to checkups so its worth it for us now that pops retired. 

Link147

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Re: Are frequent dental visits worth it?
« Reply #18 on: January 23, 2015, 05:53:42 AM »
Hello Everyone!   Long time lurker, first time poster.

I've been visiting the same dentist since third grade.  Took an unfortunate 8 year break from cleanings during which time I was sick every year with the change of seasons.  Since I returned to annual cleanings, my health has improved.  The hygienist and I discussed how important oral health is to your general health.  When you feel ill, changing to a new toothbrush, etc.  Coincidence?  Possibly, but annual cleanings/xrays are worth the extra cost.   BTW, I pay about $250 annually in dental insurance, but would pay $85 for a cleaning and $200 for xrays every 2 years.  Not exactly mustachian, but QOL IMHO. 

When I asked about teeth whitening, he said "we don't do that here"  I have tremendous trust in him, and his son who will be taking over the practice and I played baseball with growing up. 

I'm a red panda

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Re: Are frequent dental visits worth it?
« Reply #19 on: January 23, 2015, 07:08:34 AM »
I think twice yearly (or at least annual) dentist trips for a cleaning are incredibly important.  Preventing dental problems saves a ton of money as fixing them once they are bad is extremely costly.

I also have a dentist who isn't too reactive about fillings.  I have a small cavity that has been an "optional" fill for almost 5 years. It hasn't changed in that time, so it hasn't been upgrade to needed.  I appreciate that.

mrsggrowsveg

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Re: Are frequent dental visits worth it?
« Reply #20 on: January 23, 2015, 07:21:37 AM »
I also think regular dental visits are important.  I am also lucky that dental insurance is not extra for just me on my employers health plan.  I have never had a cavity.  After about 6 months I feel ready for an exam.  Even with flossing, it just feels better after a good cleaning.  I am surprised how much dental visits cost for many people and how much upselling they do.  This is purely anecdotal, but my sister skipped dental visits for about 5 years.  She said she was flossing and didn't need it.  They found many cavities and it was a nightmare to get them all repaired.

lifejoy

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Re: Are frequent dental visits worth it?
« Reply #21 on: January 23, 2015, 07:31:26 AM »
This is purely anecdotal... But when I missed a 6-month checkup and cleaning, my next visit revealed SIX cavities! I had never had any before. Suddenly I'm having a root canal and multiple fillings. And I had tooth pain before visit, so I feel I wasn't being scammed.

So, my teeth need dentists. I brush and floss every day!

My husband goes to the dentist about once every six years, drinks coke before bed and brushes once or twice a day, NEVER flosses. Zero cavities for him.

Everyone's mouth chemistry is different!

Roots&Wings

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Re: Are frequent dental visits worth it?
« Reply #22 on: January 23, 2015, 07:33:27 AM »
We've gone through multiple upsell dentists.

Now we've finally found a "let's wait and see" dentist. I've seen him for 2.5 years and this last visit he did an xray, showed me the spot, told me we didn't need to do anything yet because of its size, and advised that I could reverse the decay by the next appointment and avoid a filling.

H also sees him and has experienced the same philosophy.

But that kind of dentist seems to be a needle in a haystack. We happened to find him through word of mouth.

Agree with finding a good dentist who doesn't upsell.  Found my current dentist (who has an old-time, don't overtreat approach) after a horrible upsell experience. 

Was told I had 12 cavities, needed a crown, and antibiotics for gum disease by an upsell, overtreat dentist.  Went for a second opinion and was told 1 small cavity only (with x-ray to show it).   

I skipped dental visits for about 5 years in my 20's, but the cost is pretty nominal for a check-up/cleaning where I am now so I do it. 
« Last Edit: January 23, 2015, 07:54:42 AM by step-in-time »

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Are frequent dental visits worth it?
« Reply #23 on: January 23, 2015, 07:37:42 AM »
I also think regular dental visits are important.  I am also lucky that dental insurance is not extra for just me on my employers health plan.  I have never had a cavity.  After about 6 months I feel ready for an exam.  Even with flossing, it just feels better after a good cleaning.  I am surprised how much dental visits cost for many people and how much upselling they do.  This is purely anecdotal, but my sister skipped dental visits for about 5 years.  She said she was flossing and didn't need it.  They found many cavities and it was a nightmare to get them all repaired.

yeah, I skipped it for maybe 7 years? I floss a lot and nothing hurt. then I went back and I had TEN CAVITIES. previously I never had a cavity until age 18 and then I only had one. thankfully I have practically free dental insurance through work so it wasn't that expensive for the ten fillings, and two cleanings a year are free. it wasn't a nightmare, but it was definitely a pain in the ass (and honestly kind of embarrassing, who the fuck has ten cavities?!)...they had to spread it out over two sessions.

I agree with those who say shop around, not only because you will get cleanings for cheaper via Groupon and dental schools, but you seem to have had some particularly upsell-y dentists. IME there are some that are and some that aren't. I never got my wisdom teeth out (they came in late, when I was in that phase of not going to the dentist) and my current dentist said they're fine.

Bob W

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Re: Are frequent dental visits worth it?
« Reply #24 on: January 23, 2015, 07:45:15 AM »
It appears you already know your answer.  Floss or water pic daily.   Brush after all meals.  Use whitening gel.  Imho

MrFrugalChicago

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Re: Are frequent dental visits worth it?
« Reply #25 on: January 23, 2015, 07:46:43 AM »
My work insurance pays for 2x a year. I go 3x a year, so I end up paying out of pocket for the 3rd cleaning ($60?). Totally worth it.

With regular care, you can treat a tiny cavity when it is tiny. Otherwise, you can let a cavity go for 2-3 years and not know it, until it festers and your entire tooth is gone. I like my teeth, no desire to lose them!

(One dentist I went to off groupon did try to scam me into a $80 shine a laser in my mouth to look for oral cancer, skipped that one)...

sheepstache

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Re: Are frequent dental visits worth it?
« Reply #26 on: January 23, 2015, 08:27:47 AM »
If you do go to new dentists for new patient specials or goupons or something, make sure to be clear that you've had consistent dental treatment. Maybe say you moved and want someone closer. All the times I've felt pressured it's been with a new dentist. They want to convince you that because of lack of recent treatment or because your old dentist was a hack or something that you have all these problems. Whereas going to one dentist consistently they just let me get my cleaning with the hygienist and get out. 

wild wendella

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Re: Are frequent dental visits worth it?
« Reply #27 on: January 23, 2015, 08:37:31 AM »
I'm gonna throw something out there.  A few years ago when I was having my numerous mercury fillings replaced with non mercury fillings, the holistic dentist recommended unwaxed floss over waxed floss.  He explained that the waxed stuff just slides right by and doesn't get a lot out.  That made sense to me, and even though I have tight teeth and it was a pain, I started using unwaxed floss. 

I have a history of absolutely terrible teeth.  Tons of cavities.  I've broken two in a rollerblading accident.  I've had two root canals, with one of those teeth later pulled, etc.  But since I started using unwaxed floss, I haven't had any cavities.  I haven't done any studies and can't prove the correlation, but it sure looks conclusive to me.  Switch to unwaxed floss.  Floss at least once a day.

We paid (through my work) about 1k last year for dental insurance.  My husband and I both went for two cleanings.  The insurance company has to make money to stay in business, just like the casinos.. 

frugalnacho

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Re: Are frequent dental visits worth it?
« Reply #28 on: January 23, 2015, 08:41:11 AM »
Plaque is a figment of the liberal media and the dental industry to scare you into buying useless appliances and pastes.  Now, I've read the arguments on both sides, and I haven't found any evidence yet to support the need to brush your teeth. Ever.

dragoncar

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Re: Are frequent dental visits worth it?
« Reply #29 on: January 23, 2015, 08:43:12 AM »
Plaque is a figment of the liberal media and the dental industry to scare you into buying useless appliances and pastes.  Now, I've read the arguments on both sides, and I haven't found any evidence yet to support the need to brush your teeth. Ever.

Part of the dental industrial conspiracy.  Thanks, Obama.

oldtoyota

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Re: Are frequent dental visits worth it?
« Reply #30 on: January 23, 2015, 08:50:13 AM »
If I did not have dental insurance, I might stretch mine out to once per year. One of my friends said his "shit started falling apart" when he turned 40. I don't know how deep you are into that decade, but it's something to consider. As you age, you may need to go more often (once per year at least??).

I only got a cavity when I was pregnant and calcium was diverting to the developing child. Since then, no problem. I also take calcium every day and have noticed a difference in my nails, so I assume this translates into a difference in my teeth/bones. If you do take calcium, take it apart from iron and (I think) vitamin C; IIRC both can block calcium absorption.

Although fluoride is a toxin, it's in our water and in fluoride rinses. I have found the rinses to help when bacteria has caused minor problems. I use them yet use them sparingly since fluoride is not good for the rest of our bodies.

ETA: An overall good diet is also important for teeth. Dentists never talk to me about diet and how it can help prevent problems. Your food makes everything in your body work--would make sense it could affect bacteria in the mouth but not sure about that. You know the drill--lots of veggies and fruits, little sugar, etc.

« Last Edit: January 23, 2015, 08:54:08 AM by oldtoyota »

justajane

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Re: Are frequent dental visits worth it?
« Reply #31 on: January 23, 2015, 08:53:10 AM »
For women of childbearing age, I would definitely recommend great oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist. Periodontitis (gum disease) has been linked to pre-term labor and low birth weight infants: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3217279/.

act0fgod

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Re: Are frequent dental visits worth it?
« Reply #32 on: January 23, 2015, 08:58:09 AM »
I'll start by saying I'm a military dentist.  The thing I most appreciate about being a dentist in the military is I don't need to sell services or products to my patients.  If I have a day of exams where none of my patients need fillings I'm not feeling like I lost money that day.  I don't have to worry about making payments on my office, my equipment or my staff.  I also have patients that return to me every year so I can be more conservative in my treatment knowing they are required to return.

I'm not going to give specific advice but I will say based on my professional opinion regular dental visits are beneficial, how regular depends on a lot of things.  Insurance companies are willing to pay for cleanings every 6 months.  In the US military we do cleanings annually.
Here are the things you should do:
1)  Brush your teeth for at least 2 min 2x/day with a soft bristle brush and appropriate technique so all plaque is removed.  I use an electric toothbrush and can tell you I notice a difference on the plaque accumulation when using a manual toothbrush.  Not saying you need an electric toothbrush but they will compensate for poor technique and let you be a bit lazier with your brushing.  Also a bigger head isn't a better brush, a smaller head isn't a better brush.
2)  Floss 1x/day.  From my perspective waterpicks, interdental cleaners, toothpicks, mouthwash and other types of things aren't worth the money you spend on them.  They each have their place but are not a replacement for flossing.  Flossing is the only cleaning device that will clean the surfaces of your teeth that are in contact (coincidentally that is a one of the two very common places to get cavities).
3)  Maintain a healthy diet.  Obviously dentists don't like things that are high in sugar.  Sugar feeds plaque (bacteria in your mouth).  Also dentists don't like things that are acidic.  Soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks are the worst.  If you put a penny in soda it dissolves, think about what that is doing to your teeth.  If you have a sweet tooth, or can't function without your energy drinks do it quickly.  Don't prolong the snack or drink.  Sipping one soda over an hour is far worse than downing ten in ten minutes.  Also rinse your mouth with water after drinking or eating.
4)  Maintain your overall health.  As you age this is more important.  Additionally lots of medications cause dry mouth.  Saliva helps reduce the amount of bacteria in the mouth and also keeps the ph at the appropriate level.  With a dry mouth you get more bacteria and a more acidic environment.


I disagree with the individuals that say you should go to a different dentist every year.  It may end up being more expensive.  An initial exam should cost more than a established patient exam because all diagnostic information must be obtained and they need to treat you as a riskier patient because you have no established rapport.  My advice is to find a dentist like MayDay described (if your dentist is charging an additional $60 for an oral cancer screening they aren't a dentist like MayDay described).  Someone who will explain where you have cavities and show you the x-rays and someone who will give you multiple options on treatment for a particular condition.  If an dentist says you need a crown ask what type of crown.  If they give you an option for a gold crown I would feel good about that dental office.  I wouldn't feel good about an office if they say they only do in office milled CAD/CAM, Cerec or E.max crowns (it means the office spent a lot of money on equipment and only does crowns that allow them to recoup costs on the equipment not what is best for you/what you want).  Those types of crowns are very good options but they may not be the best crown in every scenario.

I often use car care analogies with my patients.  Regular checkups are like an oil change (3,000 miles is more often than most need just like 6 months is more often than most need).  I've been to a car shop where they told me I could buy a 10 dollar part and find instructions on the internet.  This is like the dentist that tells you about an early cavity that can be reversed if you improve your oral hygiene.  If you find a good mechanic they will tell you when they notice something small that needs to be addressed in order to fix a future big problem a good dentist will do the same. If you wait until your teeth hurt (different from sensitive - not all sensitivity is a big problem) it's like you drove your car until it broke down, you now have a big problem.  That is when you see expensive repairs.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2015, 09:06:16 AM by act0fgod »

georgialiving

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Re: Are frequent dental visits worth it?
« Reply #33 on: January 23, 2015, 09:11:12 AM »
$200 is very high! Cleanings and X-rays are all over groupon. $40 easy


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Bob W

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Re: Are frequent dental visits worth it?
« Reply #34 on: January 23, 2015, 12:14:28 PM »
I forgot to mention that tea contains a high level of fluoride.  If you drink tea throughout the day you will avoid most cavities.  If you can't brush or won't brush after eating use gum.

I also didn't mention that I was a public health leader and our Bright Smiles prevention program won the state public health award. 

Perhaps as relevant is that I haven't seen a dentist in over 10 years.   I do often use a SonicCare tooth brush.  I do carry a tooth brush in my car and brush a lot while driving. I do use a water pic and floss.

So my total dentist expense has been around $0.  My wife has spent a similar amount.  I don't have receding gums or excessive plaque build up.  The thing that erodes tooth bases and roots is mostly the rubbing action of particles between the gums and teeth.   Thus flossing and water picing are as important or more important than brushing. 

Of course,  IMHO and I'm not selling anything and I'm not a dentist. 

Weedy Acres

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Re: Are frequent dental visits worth it?
« Reply #35 on: January 26, 2015, 07:51:24 AM »
OP back here.  Thanks for all the (conflicting) input.  :-)

I live in a small town, so there's no groupon and no dental school, unfortunately.  I brush well twice daily, but have slacked off on my flossing.  I hereby resolve to get back into it.  With unwaxed floss. 

I drink only water and don't eat much sugar, so I think I'm good on the healthy diet side.  In good health, no meds.

Good point about jumping around dentists incurring more start-up costs.  This one hasn't pushed when I've declined services, but they still put them out there, which bugs me.  Last week I told them I just wanted a cleaning ($93) and xrays ($60) and they said since they had a new dentist he had to by law see me, but they wouldn't charge me the additional $60 for that.  But they're saying "we measured something or other and a few teeth are over 20 so we need to keep an eye on them" and it sounds like auto mechanics saying "your kevelteflunk is making a funny noise."   So I'm not wild about where I'm at, but don't know how well I'd be able to pick a new one without going through all the up-front rigamarole.

OSUBearCub

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Re: Are frequent dental visits worth it?
« Reply #36 on: January 26, 2015, 11:55:00 AM »
I've had $30k worth of work done in my mouth since age 20 (14 years) and this doesn't include braces or cosmetic work.  I grew up with poor dental habits - once a day brushing, no flossing - and country well water without fluoride.  I was also taken for a ride a few times by crappy dental conglomerates.

Floss daily. So many of my problems could have been avoided if I'd been taught to floss regularly.  I get cleanings three times a year to stay ahead of gum disease.  Once it starts progressing, it's really hard to stay on top of it.

1. Get a good dentist - I suggest independent dentists who don't have a corporation calling the shots behind the scenes
2. You're perfectly within your rights to ask for a wait-and-see care plan, especially if you aren't having any discomfort 
3. Watch for add-ons that you've not expressly requested - the intake survey is often used as implicit requests for services
- Answering no to "Are you happy with the brightness of your teeth?" could lead to a whitening procedure added to the treatment plan, read the whole thing
4. Ask about all the options for each procedure and ask prices - a good clinic will be ready to quote the insurance-negotiated price and your out of pocket at any point of your visit
5. If there's anything nicer than a mid-level Mercedes parked in the lot, run back to your car :-)
« Last Edit: January 26, 2015, 11:57:15 AM by OSUBearCub »

Peacefulwarrior

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Re: Are frequent dental visits worth it?
« Reply #37 on: January 26, 2015, 12:29:33 PM »
I have parents who did not grow up with adequate dental care, and I am forever grateful that they faithfully took me to the dentist every 6 months. Because I've seen how bad dental problems can be, I am of the mind to think that $200 a year is a pretty minimal cost to ensure that you don't have pain and still have teeth when you are older.

Anecdotally, my husband is 40 and just had a cavity. They can happen at any point, and you will probably not be able to know.

If you decide not to go to the dentist yearly, I would at least suggest that you scrupulously brush, floss, and use mouthwash to ensure that you keep your mouth very clean.

Not destroying your teeth with smoking, tea, coffee, sugar, fruit juices, fruit, soda etc. is another option. If you live a more natural lifestyle this is not gonna happen. It's not like the teeth are gonna destroy itself without any reason.

sol

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Re: Are frequent dental visits worth it?
« Reply #38 on: January 26, 2015, 01:33:27 PM »
I went to the dentist every six months as a kid.  Never had any problems. 

Then I went off to college and grad school and didn't see a dentist for a decade.  Still no problems.

Then I got married and started going to the dentist every six months again.  Still no problems, so I talked to him about it.  He says for people like me, going more than once a year is a complete waste of everyone's time unless you actually notice a problem.  For other people, they're going to have significant problems even if they go every six months.

So I think the answer is "it depends on your mouth."

NoraLenderbee

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Re: Are frequent dental visits worth it?
« Reply #39 on: January 26, 2015, 01:41:10 PM »
Plaque is a figment of the liberal media and the dental industry to scare you into buying useless appliances and pastes.  Now, I've read the arguments on both sides, and I haven't found any evidence yet to support the need to brush your teeth. Ever.

Have you posted in the "I don't need soap" thread yet?  ;)

TrulyStashin

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Re: Are frequent dental visits worth it?
« Reply #40 on: January 26, 2015, 02:05:45 PM »
I don't understand the point of view that dental care doesn't matter.  Failing to take proper care of your teeth isn't frugal.  It's cheap.

It is just as important as proper care of the rest of our body parts and the dental standard of care is the result of evidence-based research.  That's not to say that no dentist ever deviates from the standard of care, but just like any other doctor, they're vulnerable to lawsuits if they do.  And just like with any other medical care, you have a duty to be an informed consumer.

Dental/ oral health is directly linked to our overall health, including heart disease.  http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Dental/ways-poor-dental-care-makes-sick/story?id=15402772


frugaliknowit

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Re: Are frequent dental visits worth it?
« Reply #41 on: January 26, 2015, 02:14:17 PM »
Everyone's mouth chemistry is different.  On a large scale, I think it's cost effective to visit the dentist regularly and get cleanings.  Yes, there will be people who don't need it just as there are people who never go to the doctor and live a long life.   If you don't go you are betting that you are in the minority.  It could cost you your teeth.

I know if I don't brush/floss/rinse regularly, I will get gingivitis.  No question.  That leads me to believe with my body chemistry (prone to plaque buildup), I should get regular cleanings.

I have my own dental fund in which I put $25 bi-weekly.  It's the same amount I used to (mostly waste) on dental insurance.  It works.

LucyBIT

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Re: Are frequent dental visits worth it?
« Reply #42 on: January 26, 2015, 04:02:12 PM »
If you find a solid dentist and build up a relationship with them, not only will they not upsell you, but you'll have a better experience overall. So it's worth shopping around, but I wouldn't throw up your hands and decide they're all worthless, because they're not.

I have a cracked tooth that I've been getting checked periodically by an endodontist, and every single time he recommends against a root canal, even though it still hurts sometimes, because he's not convinced it would fix the pain. He doesn't even charge me for the visit sometimes.

My husband has been going to the same dentist since he was a child, and he loves him--H has really shitty teeth and weak enamel (he got his first crown when his molar shattered at the age of 8), so he's had all kinds of stuff done, but this dentist does higher-quality work with significantly less pain than other dentists he's seen on occasion.

You should always be looking for healthcare professionals you trust. Ask around for recommendations in your area, shop around if needed, but I just don't see the utility of going to doctors you don't trust and can't discuss treatment with.