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Rochester, Mich. ––Sept. 14, 2017–– A report released this month by the University of Michigan revealed troubling trends among people aged 50-64 when it comes to tooth pain and a lack of preventive dental care. Dr. Jeff Haddad of Doolin Haddad Advanced Dentistry in Rochester, Mich., said the time to deal with dental health is before pain is present.
“Overall quality of life depends on good oral health. Regular dental check-ups and preventative measures keep one’s teeth and gums healthy and high functioning,” Haddad said. “If that hasn’t been a lifelong practice, individuals need to reconsider the role that regular dental visits should play in their health and well-being as they age.”
More than 33% of those surveyed say dental problems have caused pain, created difficulty eating and been the reason for missed work or health problems in the past two years. A key reason in not seeking dental care was a lack of insurance, with 56% of those who don’t have dental insurance seeking dental care only when serious dental problems arise.
“Dental insurance generally provides about $1,000 worth of coverage a year for an individual. That is not insignificant, but the fact is, insurance covers a relatively small amount of the cost of advanced procedures such as crowns and periodontic treatment,” Haddad said. “So, even those who have basic dental insurance are still paying for the majority of an advanced treatment out-of-pocket. The focus needs to change from insurance to prevention, treatment and health – and insurance coverage needs to be responsive to that as well.”
Haddad, who holds both undergraduate and dental school degrees from the University of Michigan, notes that proper oral hygiene can challenge older patients in particular for a variety of reasons.
“Some medications cause xerostomia (dry mouth) and the lack of saliva reduces the mouth’s natural protective mechanisms. These problems lead to plaque accumulation, cavities and periodontal disease, and may further impact a patient’s health,” Haddad said. “In other cases, teeth and gums wear down due to age. It’s important to seek treatment at the first sign of a change, whatever the cause, to avoid more costly restorative dentistry down the road.”
For those who can’t afford to pay for their own dental needs, either immediately or on a payment plan, Michigan’s dental schools in Detroit and Ann Arbor offer an option, as do other dental health clinics. The Michigan Department of Health & Human Services offers a listing of free or low cost dental options on the State of Michigan website.
The full University of Michigan survey report can be viewed here.
About Doolin Haddad Advanced Dentistry
Doolin Haddad Advanced Dentistry was founded in Rochester in 1990 by Dr. Kurt Doolin. Dr. Jeff Haddad joined the practice in 2002. In addition to their dental school training, both Drs. Doolin and Haddad are fellows of The Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies and lecture nationally on implants, TMJ, and restorative and cosmetic dentistry. Marco Tironi, D.D.S. joined Doolin Haddad Advanced Dentistry in 2013; the practice has 13 team members. Discover Health. Discover Happiness. Discover How. DiscoverDH. To learn more, visit www.discoverdh.com.