On average, going in for a routine dental cleaning can cost about $80 to $175. But if you’re getting a full check-up, including x-rays and a dental exam, you’d better budget closer to $114 to $380!
So why is dental care so expensive, and why is there so much variation? Why are we paying through our teeth (forgive the pun) to keep up our dental health? Let’s go into that.
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There’s A Ton of Overhead
First off, there’s a lot of overhead when it comes to running a dental office. There’re hygienists’ salaries, a receptionist, rent or a mortgage. Plus all the supplies, health insurance, taxes, business insurance. The list goes on.
About 75% of your dental fees will go to overhead. And if your dentist chooses to invest in newer technologies, they can run $100,000 or even more.
So don’t hold it against them too much. They’re trying to keep their business running and make a decent salary.
Insurance Doesn’t Cover Much
The other major problem with dental care is dental insurance. It doesn’t act like automobile insurance or health insurance.
Health or automobile insurance should cover an unforeseeable emergency. They’re there for a nasty car wreck or cancer.
Dental insurance, well, doesn’t. It takes the edge off annual cleanings and check-ups. But if you need extensive work, you’re stuck paying a 50% copay, at best.
And most insurance plans will only cover about $1500 of dental expenses. Many have “missing tooth clauses. ” This means if you’re missing a tooth before you get the plan, they won’t cover replacement.
On top of that, your dentist hates dealing with insurance too. Reps are hard to get a hold of, they have to see how much your insurance will cover.
Some dentists prefer to cover only uninsured patients. This way they don’t have to handle insurance companies.
If this is the case, you can sometimes get a discount, so ask. You may find out you’re already getting one.
Your Teeth Are an Investment
It costs a lot to run a dentist’s office, and you can’t count on your insurance to cover much. But you need to take care of your teeth. Look at them as an investment.
Because taking care of your teeth doesn’t just affect your appearance. Your dental health leaks into other aspects of your health as well.
Taking care of your teeth can lower your risks for a heart attack stroke, diabetes, and even preterm labor. You wouldn’t skimp on a heart doctor or a brain surgeon, so don’t skimp on your dentist either.
How to Find a Good Dentist
Ask people you trust. Ask lawyers, accountants, doctors, and even your boss. Ask people who you know who take care of their health.
Read reviews, and call around. It’s okay to try out several dentists before settling on the one you like.
Consider a family dentistry, like this one, especially if you have kids. It’s good to teach them to take care of their health while they’re young.
Why Is Dental Care So Expensive?
So why is dental care so expensive? Well, your dentist has a lot of overhead, and your dental insurance doesn’t do much to take the edge off. On top of that, they’re a pain to work with.
But taking care of your teeth is an investment in your health. While prices may seem steep up front, they’ll pay off in the long run.
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