Every now and then, a rare moment happens when the skies open, planets align, and you just know a great opportunity is on the horizon. I’ve experienced that moment for at least eight years when my Ask The Dental Expert column falls perfectly into the Dental Expert Issue. The only challenge is that after eight years of explaining everything from pediatrics, geriatrics, health, and cosmetics to technology and prevention, it’s difficult to choose that one, inspiring and prolific dental topic that brings it all together. So, when it comes down to the single-most-important dental point to get across, I’m going to choose two.
The first significant approach to dental health that I would hope to express is do not delay dental care. Dental disease like decay or periodontal disease does not get better. It gets worse over time. Many times, I see simple procedures evolve into complicated treatments simply because the initial treatment was ignored or delayed too long. Rarely with our health do we ignore conditions like infections or traumatized tissue, and your oral health should be approached the same way. This is especially true with the knowledge of oral and systemic health associations. In addition to taking a hasty reactive attitude toward dental care, a proactive preventative approach is even more desirable to avoid unwanted dental conditions in the first place.
As promised, the second bit of advice I would like to share is an unfortunate reality in today’s healthcare world: do not let your insurance dictate your treatment or your provider. There are many misconceptions about how insurance works with regards to the doctors you can see and the treatment you need. Insurance as a business focuses on your benefits, while it is your provider whose expertise will determine what is best for your health. Also, in-network vs. out-of-network or covered vs. non-covered should not be the determining factor when attempting to get the best care. In many cases, healthcare can be managed regardless of insurance status. It is often encouraged for patients to call their insurance to better understand its workings, but never let insurance take on the provider’s role of a clinical diagnosis.
I hope that much is learned in this Dental Issue. Like many dentists, I am passionate about people’s dental health, whether they are my patients or not. So, soak in the dental fun, and we hope to see you all soon! Happy Smiling!
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