Even as more people get vaccinated against COVID-19, many patients across the country have continued to avoid returning to receive dental care. As Dr. McGinty welcomes back patients to her biomimetic dentistry in Denver, studies conducted by the American Dental Association have found that only 80 percent of patients nationwide have returned following the partial shutdown of dental care that occurred early last year.
For many of these patients, concerns over COVID exposure remain their primary reason for skipping out on needed dental care. While vaccination largely protects against contracting the coronavirus, notable breakthrough cases – when a vaccinated individual still contracts the virus – reported in sports and entertainment have left many uncertain about engaging in what they view as unnecessarily risky activities.
Yet, a recent study conducted by researchers at Ohio State University found that receiving dental care poses no risk to the patient of potentially contracting COVID. Researchers determined that virus particles do not spread from the mouths of patients receiving dental care; therefore, patients should have no virus-related concerns when visiting the dentist.
Patients who continue to avoid receiving dental care at our biomimetic dentistry in Denver may have more to worry about than just a few cavities. Regular dental care matters to both the health of your smile, but also to your overall health as well. Let’s take a look at what avoiding dental care can mean for your health.
Along with daily brushing and flossing, regular preventive dental care ranks as the best method for preventing tooth decay and cavities.
Plaque –a sticky biofilm comprised of harmful bacteria and food particles that linger in the mouth after eating – accumulates on the surface of your teeth. When not removed, plaque hardens into tartar, a yellowish substance that discolors your teeth and contributes to the development of gum disease.
You can only remove tartar during a cleaning with a dental hygienist. By skipping out on your regular appointment to see Dr. McGinty, you allow tartar to remain in the mouth and cause a lot of trouble.
When tartar accumulates on the surface of your teeth, the bacteria can cause gum tissue to become inflamed and irritated. Inflamed gum tissue causes a variety of potentially serious oral health issues, such as gum disease and gum recession.
Gum recession occurs when gum tissue begins to pull away from the base of a patient’s teeth. This creates gaps between the gum line and the roots of a tooth. Harmful oral bacteria can enter through these gaps and begin to build up underneath the gum line. Once rooted in your gums, oral bacteria can lead to the development of periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease and primary cause of permanent tooth loss.
As more time passes between dental cleanings, you can start to notice further discoloration of tooth enamel. Lifestyle habits can increase staining, such as smoking, and drinking red wine or coffee. By undergoing regular dental checkups and cleanings, you receive both a professional cleaning and tooth polishing.
Without regular cleanings to remove stains caused by the accumulation tartar, your smile won’t shine as brightly as you might hope.
Higher Dental Care Costs
The longer you go without receiving a cleaning, the more damage is done to your oral health. Repairing this damage can require undergoing expensive procedures and complicated treatments, both of which cost far more than a simple cleaning.
Compounding matters, while your insurance will pay for at least two cleanings a year, many restorative and cosmetic dental treatment options are not covered by insurance. Repairing the damage done to your smile by avoiding the dentist may end up costing you far more money than you’d imagine.