What Are the Potential Consequences of Avoiding or Postponing Dental Care?

| 7 min read

Choices have consequences - good or bad. Relative to your oral health choices, it’s important to be aware of the potential consequences of avoiding or postponing dental care.

Anxiety and fear may or may not factor into your dental decisions. Whatever your reason for delay, the outcomes can multiply your oral health problems and treatment costs.

Why the wait?

Let’s face it, cost factors are a leading reason for avoiding or delaying dental care. Over 50% of Americans push “pause” on their dental (and medical care) because of affordability.

Knowledge that timely care is an essential to good oral and overall health is also lost on aDelayingDentalCare high percentage of people.

”80% of Americans delay dental care knowing it will cost them more in the long term.” [1]

Also consider that approximately 74 million Americans do not have dental insurance coverage. That’s close to 25% of the population and more than twice the percentage that lack health insurance coverage. [2]

The reasons vary as to why you might avoid a dental visit or recommended treatment. Even so, it’s vital to weigh your choice alongside the consequences of delaying dental care.

What are the potential consequences of avoiding or postponing dental care?

Consider brushing and flossing as the baseline for your oral health. Add routine and consistent dental visits to your care repertoire as well.

Preventive care and dental visits produce certain benefits. But comparing the positive results with the negative results (due to neglect or avoidance) is where the consequences emerge.

1-You could lose one or more of your teeth

Tooth loss is a progressive result (trauma aside, of course). Decay caused by bacteria is the main culprit.

Once decay sets in, cavities can develop. Untreated cavities allow the oral decay to worsen - potentially causing gum disease.

  • Routine dental check-ups and examinations help identify the early signs of decay.
  • Following your dentist’s recommended preventive treatment and/or restorative treatment can reduce your risk of tooth loss.

2-You could be dealing with gum disease

The technical term is periodontal disease. Or you may be familiar with an early condition known as gingivitis.

Neglect or being unaware of gum disease symptoms give oral bacteria more opportunity to damage your teeth and gum tissue. Look for red, swollen, bleeding, or inflamed gums.

  • Early diagnosis is key to stopping gum disease from worsening.
  • A deep cleaning by a dental hygienist will help stop the spread of the disease.

3-You could be unaware of oral cancer

Screenings for oral cancer are often part of routine dental visits. Early detection is vital for helping prevent cancer in your mouth, on your tongue, or in your throat.

  • Request an oral cancer screening.
  • Monitor your lifestyle - especially related to high-risk triggers such as smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, etc.

4-You could be uninformed about health problems connected to your dental health

The emphasis isn’t merely about your oral health. In fact, there’s a strong connection between a healthy mouth and healthy body.

Gum disease is an example of this relationship. It’s potentially linked to a variety of general health conditions.

  • Heart disease
  • Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Respiratory infections
  • Complications associated with diabetes and pregnancy

Your oral health impacts your overall physical health. This is a good reason to prioritize preventive dental care and regular dental visits.

  • Ask your dentist about health conditions that could be affected by your current dental issues.
  • Be transparent with your dentist about your health history and any lifestyle issues.

It’s your choice to avoid or delay dental care. There are convenient and cost-effective options to help make your choice a positive one.

Virtual dentistry makes it possible to schedule an appointment with an online dentist. The solution is convenient for an initial consultation about your dental condition, a dental emergency, or a second opinion about a previous diagnosis or treatment.

Schedule your next dental visit with a dentist online via a dedicated digital platform

The Dental.com team of dental professionals are trained to identify, diagnose, and treat any dental condition. From toothaches to second opinions - you’re covered!

  • Access a 24 hour dentist now from your personal, private, and secure account.
  • Select a reason for your visit using a brief questionnaire.
  • Receive virtual dental care from a licensed dentist when you provide your issue details, any photos, and/or dental/health records.

Discover more about Dental.com on our How it Works page. Or Register Now.


[1]           https://www.dentalproductsreport.com/view/americans-limit-or-delay-dental-care-due-financial-concerns-survey-finds

[2]           https://dentistry.uic.edu/news-stories/the-many-costs-financial-and-well-being-of-poor-oral-health/