What's So Great About Routine Care?
If you have a regular dental checkup once or twice a year then you're probably safely in level 2, a state of routine and foundational care. If you're in level one, this is where you want to be. What's so great about level 2? Well, for starters, it proves that the old saying "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" is as true in dentistry as just about anywhere else. In level 2 you regain control over your dental health, making emergency visits a much rarer occurrence. Together, you and your dentist regularly review your current condition and your future goals. You dentist can alert you to developing problems at their earliest stages so they can be addressed as conservatively as possibly. Since decay and gum problems hardly ever produce any noticeable symptoms in their early stages, these regular visits allow your dentist can find them before they turn into major issues. As older dental work begins to wear out, your dentist will help you prioritize how to replace it before it breaks so your chance of dealing with a broken tooth while on vacation goes down dramatically.
This type of routine care builds a strong foundation for keeping your teeth for a lifetime. The economic benefits are twofold: not only does regular care keep your overall dental costs down, but because most of your work will be done preventatively (rather than as a reaction to some emergency), you can schedule it to work best with your finances and insurance limits.
What Would I Be Signing Up For?
Some people's mouths require more upkeep than others, but in addition to regular cleanings this stage commonly involves occasional fillings, crowns, or gum therapy. If a tooth is ever lost then implants, bridgework, and removable options exist. Those with extensive grinding issues can be fitted for mouthguards to slow down tooth wear and fluoride can be used to strengthen your teeth if you're prone to decay. Are you missing several teeth? Then for you this stage would involve making sure any full or partial dentures that you wear are functioning well. You'll also benefit from having a dentist monitor your situation so you can pursue dental implants before bone loss makes that option harder to obtain. The focus here is on achieving and keeping up a strong foundation so that if you ever want or need to go up to Level 3 (complete dentistry and elective/cosmetic care) you can. This is where the advances made in modern dentistry really shine. We'll discuss some of the exciting options available to you at level 3 in the next post!