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Letter From Dear Doctor

Issue 23 of Dear Doctor Magazine

Affordable Dental Care: Getting The Treatment You Need And Deserve

Difficulty paying for dental care in times of economic uncertainty continues to compromise the health of individuals and our nation. Meanwhile, lack of funds and manpower preclude millions from having access to, and even seeking dental care. But putting off necessary care only guarantees one thing: that your health will deteriorate and your treatment needs will increase.

If you feel like you're drowning in healthcare bills, here's some advice: Don't wait for your ship to come in — start swimming toward it. You can do a lot to safeguard your dental health even in tough times. Adopting healthy behaviors is the most important step; in fact, even the best dental work won't be effective without them.

Self-Insurance — Start By Practicing Prevention

Controlling the daily accumulation of dental bacterial biofilm (plaque), with efficient and effective daily oral hygiene practices will help reduce the prevalence of both dental decay and periodontal (gum) disease.

Healthy dietary practices are all-important. A nutritionally sound diet will go a long way toward promoting both oral and general health, and a healthy immune (resistance) system. And it's not just about what you put in your mouth, but also what you don't. Avoiding or at least reducing tobacco and alcohol consumption, soda, sports and energy drinks, along with exercising and reducing stress, are all part of the healthy mind, healthy body continuum.

Public health measures like fluoridating water supplies, personal practices such as using fluoride-containing toothpastes and xylitol products, all help control and prevent dental disease too.

Making Dental Care More Affordable

Modern dentistry can do a lot to arrest disease that has already begun, efficiently and cost-effectively. Once you eliminate active disease and stabilize dental health, procedures for longer-term health can generally be carried out in the future so that you don't have to pay for everything all at once.

For those of you who have dental insurance or are thinking about acquiring it, we explain the basics of dental insurance in this issue so you can comfortably navigate your coverage, ask the right questions, and maximize the use of your benefits.

Ultimately, getting dental treatment involves a personal relationship between you and your dentist. In the absence of third-party insurance, most dentists will be willing to enter into some kind of mutually agreeable financial arrangement with you that will allow you to get the dental treatment you want, need, and deserve.


Mario A.Vilardi, DMD

Garry A.Rayant, BDS, DDS, LDSRCS, MS