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Cost of dentistry - avoiding the dentist, the true cost involved

Updated on January 24, 2012

Let's face the facts, almost everyone hates going to the dentist including dentists needing dental treatments. Having your jaw open for a long period of time, someone's hands moving about with sharp instruments and the horrific drill sounds don't make it any more pleasant. It's no wonder that for many years many of us avoid the dentist unless absolutely needed.

Scheduling a dental appointment is an absolute necessity for most and only done when they are in extreme pain. Many avoid the dentist due to fears or bad experiences in the past, others avoid the dentist due to the cost involved in dental treatments.

Fear of the dentist:

The methods in which dentists treated children years ago, is no longer considered good practice and for good reason. Many adults asked today about their fear of the dentist quickly explain about their bad experiences as children, from being forced and held down during treatments to being yelled at when they complained of pain. I remember as a child, I had a tooth pulled and during the extraction process, the dentist had his left elbow resting on my chest near my throat while he was pulling with his right, when I said something because I could barely breathe, he yelled at me and told me to stop moving. For years, I avoided the dentist. One day I felt extreme pain and ended up with a few root canals, crowns and a $3000 bill which would’ve been avoided if I had come in earlier.

Cost of dental treatments:

If you don't have dental insurance, dental treatments could be quite costly. Even with dental insurance, the treatments needed may or may not be covered by your dental plan, yearly maximum and the out-of-pocket cost can be overwhelming. It's important to know what your dental insurance covers and whether it's worth having dental insurance in the first place. If you think dentistry is expensive, good dentistry costs even more. The cost of dental treatments depends on the time of a dental professional and the type of products they use. It's like everything else, "you get what you pay for". There's a proper process and technique for every dental procedure. Each step must be followed in order to achieve excellent long lasting results.

In recent years, the dental industry has become more profit focused and many of the (dental mills), larger dental offices place more emphasis on production in order to reach an excellent bottom line. On many occasions this can result in bad preparation or important steps being skipped in order to save time, thus leading to not so perfect treatment results, but most patients don’t really know the difference between good or bad unless they are properly educated by a dentist that truly cares.

With all this combined, it's no wonder why many of us avoid the dentist in the first place. When we actually do find a good dentist and he recommends certain treatments such as composite fillings on certain teeth, we do not follow through with the suggested treatment because we either don't feel pain where he is recommending the treatment or we just want to avoid seeing the dentist for as long as we can.

In recent years, the ethical dental community has shifted its focus to a preventative approach and many respected dental professionals are placing emphasis on avoiding the more evasive treatments such as root canals, bridges and crowns. Remember, it's more profitable for a dentist to perform a root canal or crown treatment, therefore it's important for you to trust and appreciate the dentist that actually recommends a filling. He is trying to help you avoid the more evasive, lengthy and costly procedure of a bigger dental treatment.

It's quite confusing for most patients when they visit a dentist and he tells them you don't need anything, soon after they visit another and he tells them they need 7 fillings. You see, the diagnosis of a dental professional is based on what he believes is a necessity, one may not want to waste his time with smaller fillings (less profit) and would rather wait until they are in need of a bigger treatment (more profit), another dentist might believe it is best to treat early and avoid the bigger treatments. I would personally prefer the choice of smaller treatments that avoid bigger ones.

Preventative, routine dental visits such as teeth cleaning, exams and x-rays are ones you shouldn't avoid no matter what, it's important to diagnose early and get a professional cleaning every 6 months, more if you dentist recommends it. Preventive treatments and recommendations by your dentist for sealants or fillings should also be highly considered because you are avoiding the cost and time involved in more evasive treatments when you ignore your dentist's recommendations.

At home care is quite essential, brush and floss your teeth on a regular basis, learn how to brush and floss properly in order to avoid damage and periodontal disease. Try to overcome your fears or discomfort of seeing a dentist, begin by finding a patient dentist that takes the time to work at your own pace, honestly explain to him about your hesitations and concerns, any good dentist will take the time to put you at ease, if you’re not completely 100% comfortable, find and select another dentist until you are absolutely anxiety-free.

Do not avoid the dentist due to historical fears or cost of dentistry because saving your teeth and more expensive treatments are the true costs involved in avoiding the dentist.

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