In the wake of this pandemic, more and more families are worrying about their monthly expenses. Even before the pandemic, 55% of Americans put off routine dental work because of cost. Yet this behavior creates bigger problems down the road, and worse, unnecessary suffering in patients that otherwise could ease their dental pain. Let’s break down why people are scared of dental costs and why you should never put off treatment. This will alleviate concerns that the dentist is too expensive for patients who need care today.
The biggest reason people worry the dentist is too expensive has to do with uncertainty. They don’t know what treatment will cost, and they fear the dentist will find something that will cost more than just a routine cleaning. In addition, many people are concerned about going to the dentist without insurance. While health insurance is viewed as a must-have for everyone in America, far fewer people pay for dental insurance. Often employers might leave dental insurance out of their benefits package as well. These two factors are huge reasons why many adults decide to put off going to the dentist.
The biggest risk with putting off dental treatment comes with the repercussions down the line. In this way, we often say that patients who put off treatment are living on borrowed time when it comes to dental health. For example a minor cavity found early can be treated with just prescription toothpaste that costs around $15-20. However, leave that cavity untreated for a period of time and it will require a filling costing at least $200-300 depending on insurance. It’s easy to see the longer you wait for routine treatment, the greater the chances are you’ll need more significant procedures to repair the damage.
As we examine the reasons above, it is easy to understand why patients put off dental treatment. In response, we’d like to remind everyone that they have options if they’re struggling with treatment costs. First, a routine cleaning is not very expensive, even if you don’t have insurance. So if you’re only a few months late on your last checkup, it’s best to get it scheduled soon. Next, many dental offices offer their own insurance plans which includes the cost of two cleanings and checkups per year. If you’re struggling with insurance, you may want to compare that price to other rates online. As you compare, it never hurts to reach out to your insurance broker. Some companies allow you to bundle different insurance products together to save money.
What if you’re worried about coming in for a cleaning and learning you need more substantial treatment? A dentist will work with you on a payment plan if the costs rise to high to pay upfront. Whatever you do, ask as many questions as you need, and be upfront with the dentist that your budget is tight. You always have the right to see the price of the treatment before you agree to it, and if it is too much, you can put it off or discuss alternatives. Never work with a dentist who wants to perform anything aside from a routine cleaning and checkup without talking to you about all the details first.
The message here is clear. The longer you wait, the more potential there is for your dental treatment to become more expensive. You don’t have to grin and bear any dental pain, even during the pandemic. Grace & Leedy is happy to work with patients that have budget concerns, and we encourage you to contact us to discuss your options. You may be pleasantly surprised on the overall costs, and you’ll come out with a big smile knowing your teeth are healthy! Contact us today to learn more.