Don’t look at the calendar now, but it’s officially autumn, which means the countdown to 2021 is on! Have you made time this year to visit the dentist? With all the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have put off or avoided dental checkups altogether. However, regular dental exams and professional cleanings are critical to maintaining a healthy smile and preventing minor problems from growing worse. Thankfully, it is not too late in the year to still take advantage of your dental insurance benefits and get the preventive oral care you need.
Why Preventive Oral Care Is So Important
In general, most people go see a doctor when they are already sick or ailing. When it comes to your teeth, however, you are better off visiting the dentist to prevent any oral health problems. Skipping regular trips to the dentist can have serious negative consequences for your health, such as:
- Increased Risk of Tooth Decay – Regular professional cleanings are critical to preventing tartar buildup, which can lead to cavities.
- Increased Risk of Gum Disease – The early warning signs of gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease, can be difficult to spot at home in the mirror. Gum disease can usually be treated and reversed if detected early by a dental professional.
- Oral Cancer – Your dentist looks for signs of oral cancer during every dental exam. Early detection is key to successfully overcoming this potentially fatal disease.
What to Expect During Your Next Checkup
Has it been awhile since your last visit to a dentist in McAllen? Here is what you can expect at your next preventive checkup:
- Professional cleaning – Even if you brush every day, harmful plaque and tartar can still build up on your teeth over time. That is why your dentist or dental hygienist will first thoroughly clean your teeth using special tools.
- Full examination – Next, your dentist will carefully examine your teeth, gums and mouth for signs of trouble, such as cavities, gum disease or even oral cancer.
- Dental X-rays – Your dentist may take new X-rays of your teeth so they can identify and diagnose potential problems not visible to the naked eye.
Don’t Let Your Insurance Benefits Expire
Many people do not realize this, but dental insurance benefits do NOT roll over from one year to the next. If you have already met your deductible but have not reached your annual maximum, this could be the perfect time to undergo more extensive dental treatment. If you wait until next year, your deductible will reset and your out-of-pocket costs will likely be higher.
However, even if you do not need major dental work done, you can still take advantage of your insurance benefits before the end of the year by scheduling a dental checkup. While every plan is different, most insurance providers cover two dental exams and cleanings per year at 100%. This means that receiving critical preventive oral care will probably not cost you a penny!
Give yourself the gift of a happy, healthy smile by scheduling a routine checkup before the end of the year. It’s as easy as going online or making just a single phone call!
About the Author
Dr. Lauro Tijerina is the dentist that McAllen residents trust to help them avoid cavities and maintain a healthy smile. The proud University of Texas School of Dentistry graduate provides a full range of preventive care to patients of all ages at his private practice. For more oral care tips or advice on how to maximize dental insurance benefits, visit the Tijerina Family & Cosmetic Dentistry website or call 956-382-6374.