Dental Health In The U.S: A Luxury Just a Few Can Afford

Dental Health Dilemma: Luxury or Necessity

Do you think having proper dental health is a luxury?

 If your answer was “no,” you are absolutely correct. Having a healthy smile is not a luxury that just some people should have access to.

But in the U.S, it’s a different story.

Those with low income have had to remove the dentist from the equation to prioritize other needs because of how expensive it is. More people have financial difficulties as a result of dental care than any other form of healthcare service. 

To be precise, 59% of Americans, regardless of income, age, or source of dental benefits, declared that the top reason they skip the dentist is the cost.

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What About Insurance? 

Well, insurances like Medicare don’t even cover the most common restorative dental procedures, like crowns, dentures, and sometimes essential services like dental cleanings.

According to a 2016 study from the Kaiser Family Foundation, half of all Medicare beneficiaries had incomes below $26,200. About 19% had to spend more than $1,000 out of their pocket on dental care.

For someone who has that yearly income, spending that quantity only on the dentist has a significant impact on their finances. 

Just to put it into perspective, a single dental crown can cost up to $3,000. Now imagine if you need more than one, which is often the case for most patients.

If that wasn’t enough, about 74 million Americans live without insurance, and that number will most likely increase.

How Does Insurance Coverage Work?

To explain insurance, we should also talk about networks. A network is a group of healthcare providers that have agreed to offer discounted services in exchange for a fee from an insurance company. 

Networks include a wide range of general practitioners and specialists, such as endodontists, for instance. They could also include labs, X-ray facilities, and medical equipment suppliers.

HMOs, PPOs, and possibly other acronyms are probably familiar to you. But what exactly do they mean?

HMO

Those patients with an HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) must see their primary care physician first. If your primary care physician cannot address your condition, they will refer you to an in-network specialist. To receive coverage under an HMO plan, you must always stay within your network of providers.

PPO

The PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) plan allows you to see a specialist without a referral. Patients with a PPO plan still have a network of doctors to choose from, but they aren’t limited to seeing only those doctors. You are free to see whichever healthcare provider you like.

Identifying what type of plan you have or want to get is super important to determine how much your dental work will cover. 

Why Is the Dentist So Expensive?

In the U.S, many dentists have to resort to overcharging their patients, and there are a few reasons why.

Being a dentist is something that takes extensive preparation and time. They have to go through dental school, which often leaves them with huge debts they try to pay once they’re in practice.

To that, you should add the general dentistry practice’s instruments that include very specialized equipment, which is expensive to buy and maintain. For example:

  • Digital X-ray equipment costs $10,000 to $15,000.  
  • A basic dental chair with the requisite light, trays, and connectors costs around $10,000.

Let’s also consider the cost of the materials for dental procedures and the fact that dentists must pay for office rent or mortgage payments, salary for hygienists, office managers, receptionists, taxes, supplies, to mention just a few.

In general, the cost of living in the U.S is incredibly high and is worsening as time goes on. Hence why the cost of so many other healthcare services is through the roof.

As a matter of fact, pharmaceutical medications cost nearly four times as much in the United States as they do in other industrialized countries. It is a harsh reality that millions of people have to face every day.

How Does Poor Dental Health Affect The Body?

Keeping up with your dental care is essential for catching problems before they become significant concerns. You can avoid several issues with preventative treatment before they have a chance to impact your health.

The mouth is key to one’s overall health. It can reveal indicators of malnutrition or illness in general. These are some of the consequences that can happen you your mouth:

Plaque build-up: plaque builds up and hardens into tartar. Since this could cause periodontal disease, you should visit the dentist to remove tartar once it has spread below the gumline.

Decay

Tooth decay might start as a tiny cavity, but it can lead to various health problems if left untreated. This might range from a simple toothache to a full-blown infection and eventual tooth loss.

Gum disease

Gums that are red and puffy (even if they don’t ache) are usually an indication of gingivitis, which then progresses to periodontitis, a more severe infection that is a leading cause of tooth loss.

Tooth loss

This doesn’t just affect the elderly. Those from 20 to 34 years old have an average of five missing teeth. Visits to the dentist can help diagnose and treat gum and bone recession, decay, and other concerns before you lose more teeth.

These are some of the other harmful conditions your oral health can play a part in:

Endocarditis

 when bacteria or other germs from your mouth (or other parts of your body) migrate through your bloodstream and adhere to specific locations in your heart.

Pneumonia

The bacteria from your mouth can enter your lungs and cause pneumonia and other respiratory illnesses.

Cardiovascular disease

Although the link is not completely clear, evidence shows that oral bacteria might induce inflammation and infections, leading to heart disease, clogged arteries, and stroke.

Pregnancy complications

Pregnant women with periodontitis may be more likely to have preterm or low-birth-weight babies.

As you can see, even though it’s understandable that you want to avoid getting into debt or simply can’t afford to visit the dentist, you still need a solution before the state of your oral health worsens, if it hasn’t already.

Is High-Quality Dental Care Out Of Your Reach?

We know all this information can be overwhelming, and you might want to give up on looking for professional help to take care of your smile, but don’t give up on us just yet!

Luckily, the dental tourism phenomenon is growing more and more. And that’s one of the best alternatives you have.

Outstanding dentistry, with experts at affordable costs. Doesn’t that sound great? The good news is that it is perfectly possible. 

Trust Dental Care is a dental office in Tijuana, Mexico, with over 20 years of experience receiving patients from all over the world looking for the same thing as you.

We make sure to give you the best dental experience with all the benefits we offer, from our complimentary shuttle service to our state-of-the-art dental technology. 

The cost of living in Mexico is very different from the U.S, and that allows us to offer you exceptional dental care at prices that won’t leave you in debt for life. If you want to learn how thousands of Americans are taking advantage of this great opportunity, give us a call!

Don’t miss out. Fill out the contact form and take a step closer to the dental care you deserve.

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