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Mark Favaloro
Mark Favaloro
Attorney • (800) 752-0042

The Economy Has Taken a Bite Out of Dentists

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It’s hard these days to find any industry or business that hasn’t been affected by the recession. As we all continue to struggle through the economic downturn, even businesses that many view as relatively immune from fiancial threats are feeling the pinch. For an example, the Virginian-Pilot reported on March 11, 2012, that dentists saw seen sharp and unprecedented declines in patient visits over the past several years.

One problem is that families often cut dental care when budgets get tight. Related to this losing a job typically means dental insurance. Patient forgo elective procedures like whitening and preventive care when they have to pay out of pocket. Even medically necessary procedures like fixing broken teeth are being put off by people more worried about house payments and grocery bills. But even as private dental practices treat fewer people, emergency rooms are seeing upticks in patients needing treatment for tooth and gum problems..

Of course, even though many people may not link them, dental care is a huge part of overall health care. And it’s just as important to take good care of your teeth as it is to address any other health issue. In fact, dentists can even play a big role in early diagnosis of certain diseases or health concerns.

Aside from the obvious benefits of regular dental care, periodic visits to your dentist create a dental record that can prove invaluable if you suffer an injury that leaves you with a facial or oral injury. Your dental record can be used as evidence for supportig claims for the recovery or medical expenses from the person or company at fault for the accident in which you got hurt.. For instance, files from your dentist can help prove that your broken tooth was newly broken.

The bottom line is that seeing a dentist isn’t just a matter of oral hygiene and health. It is also about establishing and maintaining your complete health record. So, even in this time of shrinking household budgets and giving up nonessentials, you need to keep up with your dental care. Dentists are doing what they can to reach out to patients who might be struggling financially. Some offer payment plans through third parties; others are offering reduced rates and spreading out treatments so that big bills don't hit all at once.

About the Editors: The Shapiro, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm, which has offices in Virginia (VA) and North Carolina (NC), edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as pro bono services.