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Pennsylvania Dental Association Cautions Patients: Don't Forgo Dental Visits Because of the Economy
Date:3/31/2009

Skipping checkups now is likely to necessitate expensive treatment later

HARRISBURG, Pa., March 31 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the economy remains unsteady and Pennsylvanians continue to cut back their expenses, the Pennsylvania Dental Association (PDA) is stressing the need for people of all ages to keep up with their oral health care.

"The PDA understands how difficult it is for families and individuals to make ends meet in economic hard times, especially those facing job losses," said Dr. Thomas W. Gamba, president of PDA. "Trying to save a little money by postponing regular dental checkups could result in serious oral health problems that could cost thousands of dollars in the long run. Maintaining good oral health is the most cost-effective approach."

PDA has no statistics on whether more Pennsylvanians are avoiding dental checkups because of the economy. However, Gallup-Healthways recently released the results of a 2008 poll of more than 355,000 Americans. It indicates that 34 percent - or more than one-third - of Americans did not visit a dentist last year. Pennsylvania was close to the national average, at 32 percent. Dentists are concerned that 2009's numbers, which will reflect the economy's impact, will result in even more patients avoiding dental visits.

"Some patients may feel that if they aren't in pain, then there's no need for a checkup. That is not correct," said Dr. Andrew J. Kwasny, president-elect of PDA. "Patients need to come in for checkups to catch and prevent problems, which otherwise could quickly advance into painful tooth disease and costly treatments."

For example, a patient with a minor toothache may decide to treat it with numbing gel rather than visit a dentist. That toothache could be the symptom of tooth decay, and the longer it remains untreated, the more likely it will later require a root canal and crown.

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SOURCE Pennsylvania Dental Association
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