Lancaster dentist Dr. Matthew Kingston explains how comfortable, convenient and affordable it is to regain control of your oral health
Smiles and Your Health Topics: Regain that Healthy Smile
Have you or someone you know put off dental care for a while, maybe even years? According to the American Dental Association, over 40% of Americans do not see a dentist on a regular basis. Perhaps your life is just too stressful right now, you are too busy, you are worried about finances, or maybe just the thought of going to the dentist stirs up anxiety. Whatever the reason, you are not alone.
Lancaster dentist Dr. Matthew Kingston and the Healthy Smiles Dental team note that regularly seeing the dentist, and taking care of your dental needs in a timely manner isn't just good for your smile, it's good for your overall health. Recent studies are increasingly showing oral health has a profound impact on overall systemic health, and periodontal disease is being linked to multiple systemic diseases. Stress and anxiety of day-to-day life can take a toll on teeth and gums; it can cause you to clench or grind your teeth, producing wear, chipping, or fractures of the teeth. Stress can also impact the health of the gums and increase the likelihood and severity of periodontal (gum) disease. So why do people still postpone their visits?
For some people, returning to the dentist after many years may stir up fear and anxiety. For others, finding the time in their busy schedule is a barrier to making appointments. Still more stay away due to financial concerns, their dentist is too far away or they endured a bad dental experience in the past.
"I always tell patients that taking that first step towards improving your oral health is the hardest," Dr. Kingston says. "Once we have a chance to evaluate your teeth and gums, we can come up with a treatment plan that is a virtual road map to regaining control of your oral health. We discuss flexible financing options. And once we do that, people always feel like they are back in control. They feel better."
"It is not unusual for a new patient who hasn't been to the dentist for a while to express their embarrassment. There is no reason to be embarrassed. By making an appointment, you are making a great decision. As a dental care provider, I am here to help my patients improve and maintain their good dental health, not to criticize them or make them feel bad. Getting a plan in place puts patients back in the driver's seat, back in control of their health. That plan alone makes them feel better," he adds.
If it has been a while since you have been to the dentist, there is good news. Dental care has come a long way. Going to the dentist doesn't have to be inconvenient or cause stress. Those who have not seen a dentist for two, five, ten or even twenty years may be surprised to find out how many more options there are to make dental care more comfortable, convenient and affordable. To help patients with their fear and anxiety, there are a variety of relaxation techniques available, including music, massaging dental chairs, and large screen televisions. New anesthetics and faster, more efficient dental tools, combined with digital radiography, make treatment faster and virtually painless. "We also offer flexible hours, including a limited number of evening appointments from September through June, for people here in Lancaster who have trouble coming in during the day," Dr. Kingston says.
And dentistry today has never been more affordable. For those with dental insurance, Healthy Smiles Dental will submit and process your insurance claims for you. For patients who do not have dental insurance who need to spread out payments over time, flexible interest free financing is available through Care Credit and Citi Financial.
According to Dr. Kingston, some things you can expect as part of your comprehensive examination at your initial Healthy Smiles Dental appointment include:
- a head and neck exam
- evaluation of the TMJ (jaw joint)
- oral cancer screening
- necessary digital radiographs
- a periodontal evaluation to check the health of the gums
- an assessment of all the teeth for decay, strength and restorability
- a cosmetic evaluation
- a whitening evaluation
By the end of the initial visit most patients have a comprehensive treatment plan that lays out exactly what can be done to restore good oral health. "When a patient can see the time frame and the sequence of steps that it will take to get them back on track, it makes the process seem attainable. It makes them feel great. For someone who has not had treatment for years, this is a schedule to help regain control of their oral health," Dr. Kingston says.