Dental Costs vs. Disease Prevention through Oral Health Maintenance Tips
Money doesn’t grow on trees. If I have extra cash, I’d prefer to spend it on dinner with a friend, a gift, or a needed clothing or home item. However, health issues happen, including gum disease, cavities, or toothaches. These problems are best not ignored, as they may lead to increased pain, illness, and expense.
Consider the average costs for dental work in Georgia:
- X-rays (full-mouth): $79-118
- Exam: $25-60
- Cleaning: $60-80
- Deep Cleaning (for advanced gum disease):$650-1200
- Filling: $150-285
- Crown: $750-1200
- Bridge (3-unit_ to replace 1 missing tooth): $2040-3200
- Extraction (tooth pulled): $274-398
- Root Canal: $920-1400
- Dentures (removable) $750-1500
The best money saving plan is to prevent dental disease. A dental check-up and cleaning averages $59-300. If there are no cavities, advanced gum disease, missing, or broken teeth, then the prevention expense is minimal and breaks down to approximately $7.00-21.50/month or 23-72 cents/day.
Considering how important it is to manage the health of our teeth and gums, here are some simple mouth care tip to be used to prevent dental disease and lower health risks on a daily basis.
Dental Disease Prevention Tips:
- Brush to de-plaque teeth, gums, and tongue with a soft toothbrush (manual or electric) twice a day
- Brush using a small, pearl-sized amount fluoride toothpaste
- Clean between the teeth with floss or other oral aid
- Gently brush gums and tongue when teeth are not present
- Rinse full or partial denture with water after each meal
- Clean full or partial denture nightly
- May use soap and water or denture cleanser with a denture brush or medium/firm toothbrush
- D o not sleep in full or partial dentures to prevent irritation of gum tissue and lower risk of pneumonia (Iinuma, et al., 2015)
- After meals, sip, swish, and swallow water to clear mouth of soft debris and increase hydration
- Self-assessment or caregiver assessment of teeth, gums, and tongue should be done daily to note or seek services for:
- Teeth that are broken or black or brown spots; suspicious soft tissue changes on inside of cheeks, lips, or gums that last longer than two weeks.
- Reduce daily intake of sugary beverages, desserts and candy. Instead, use sugar substitutes in beverages; eat more fruits and rinse mouth after eating. Limit snacks to 4X/day (food or beverage).
- Xylitol gum, mints, or candy is a healthier substitute; no more than 6 pieces per day
- All individuals should see a dental professional at least once per year, even if no teeth are present; an oral cancer exam is performed during each visit.
The dental hygienist will assess the mouth, remove hard and soft deposits to prevent or treat gum disease, and report findings to the dentist. The dentist will perform fillings, extractions, crowns, or any restorative dental services, as needed.
Next Month: What is Stopping You from Getting Dental Services?
Iinuma, T., Arai, Y., Abe, Y., Takayama, M., Fukumoto, M., Fukui, Y., Iwase, T., Takebayashi, T., Hirose, N., Gionhaku, N., Komiyama, K. (2015). Denture wearing during sleep doubles the risk of pneumonia in the very elderly. J Dent Res. 2015 Mar; 94(3 Suppl): 28S–36S.
Pam Cushenan, MS TDEV, RDH, ATI, Is a licensed practitioner of dental hygiene since 1987 and the CEO and founder of SOFT Smiles, LLC in 2006. After many years of working with older adults and cognitively impaired patients, she developed the SOFT SmilesTM training program for caregivers of aging special needs patients. Pam has devoted much time and energy to developing resources and reaching an ever-growing number of caregivers across Georgia. She conducts education and training courses for families, care providers, and health professionals to provide them with the latest information in addressing the needs of this special population. In addition, she makes time to provide preventive oral care services to elders in long-term care settings.
In 2005, she joined the faculty of Georgia State University Perimeter College, Dunwoody as a full-time educator in the dental hygiene program. To date, a number of her articles have been published in oral health columns for the Alzheimer’s Association Magazine, RDH, Modern Hygienist, the Sunstar Dental Hygiene Newsletter, and Dimensions of Dental Hygiene. Today, she works tirelessly to combine her training techniques and educational methods to benefit students, professional and family caregivers, and functionally independent seniors in presentations and workshops across the country.