Major dental proceduresConsidering full mouth reconstructive surgery? Or has your dentist suggested you get dentures? Did the price quote have you falling out of your chair?

First, take a step back and breathe. Some procedures are simply not as vital as certain dentists would make out. For example, according to Lane Family Dental, “Dentures have been the go-to solution for missing teeth for a very long time. But as dentistry has evolved, new techniques and treatment options have emerged. You might be missing several teeth, but that’s not always an excuse to simply pull the good ones left over.”

So if a dentist’s first opinion has you flailing, go ahead and get a second opinion. When it comes to major dental procedures, the cost warrants your due diligence. And beware of dentists who try to upsell and recommend extensive and possibly unneeded surgeries.

But what if your situation is dire? For example, a recent accident has caused you to lose several teeth? Or what if you have not been to a dentist in years? (Which, according to the CDC, is applicable to about 37 percent of us every year.) And when you do finally show up, the costs hit hard and heavy due to so much work needing to be done at once? What then?

Wondering if the cost is worth getting your mouth back in tip-top shape? Here is what happens if you keep putting it off.

Degeneration of your appearance will affect others’ perception of you

Having well-cared for teeth is one of the fastest ways people can assess whether you are taking care of yourself. Yellowing teeth is a turn-off. But teeth that are missing, or that have permanent black stains tell a strong tale of a person who has let themselves go. In a national survey conducted by Allure, 64 percent said the first thing they notice about a person is if they are attractive. First impressions and clues people pick up based on how you dress, your facial features, and how you care for yourself—all matter. One’s appearance has been shown over and over to affect hiring decisions and permeate many other crucial aspects of our lives.

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But there is a deeper effect at play. Not only does your image and how well you care for yourself affect how others perceive you. But it also affects how you perceive yourself. And letting yourself go can, in turn, damage your self-confidence in yourself. Which can cause you to continue in self-destructive and negative habits.

Lower quality of life

The ADA reports that almost 40 percent state that life is less satisfying due to poor oral health. When seniors lose teeth, shame can often cause them to shun socializing. But social connections are a large factor in keeping seniors healthy.

On the surface, a decision to forego costly dental surgery might be seen simply as a financial measure. But the implications can loom large. If you do not see your own health as a financial priority, then what does top your priority list?

Detrimental physical health effects of neglecting dental care

What happens if you decide to let nature take its course? What can you expect from skipping costly dental procedures that are necessary? It depends, of course, on what type of surgery you are skipping. But take a basic problem, such as cavities. If left untreated, not only will you be in severe pain, but it will continue to cause you trouble until total decay occurs. Plaque in one’s gums has been linked to other serious diseases, including respiratory problems. As well as diabetes, dementia, and certain cancer types.

Losing one’s teeth is only the starting point to potential health problems. If you make the decision to not get dentures or other replacement options, your diet will be affected. Not being able to chew will severely impact your nutrition intake. Liquifying all your meals is an enormous task, and one that is likely not what you had in mind when you decided to forgo surgery. Our bodies were designed to chew food as part of the digestive process. Skipping the chewing part can have implications that go beyond whether or not you are hitting certain nutritional graphs.

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Before deciding to skip a costly surgery, take the time to thoroughly consider the future repercussions of your decision.

Sure, it might seem like the most cost-effective choice in the present. But in the long run, you may wish you had placed a greater priority on all aspects of your health, which include the priority you place on your oral health.