American dentistry has been the subject of much scrutiny by the press due to the high cost of dental work. Those who visit several dental labs during their lifetime may notice a startling variety of costs – some dentists can charge $150 for a high-end crown, whereas some can charge $1500. So, what makes a dentist more expensive and what can you do about it?
The Level of Skill
Dentistry is not a regulated industry; it cannot price consistently across the board like a commodity because it is so linked with a dentist’s background. The dentist’s experience, specialty and even confidence can impact the price you pay for your dental work. You can assume that more expensive dentists will be more skilled, but this is not always the case. You should try to iron out the uncertainty when you’re shopping around for a new dentist by reading as many reviews as you can and picking the dentist with the most consistent reviews, even if they are slightly less than an inconsistent dentist that sometimes scores very high. This can help to even out your costs in the long run by minimizing risks of needing more work at a later date due to dental mistakes (which can be more common than you think).
Dental Insurance is Different to Health Insurance
The way dental insurance works is very different from the other insurance types you may be familiar with. It is a maintenance plan that instead of providing full cover, often will not protect you if you need a lot of work done. It is more for keeping your teeth healthy over time with cleanings instead of fixing the big problems you have. Dental insurance has been available for 50 years, but the maximum annual benefits of up to $1000-1500 have not changed in that time. If you are a patient who has been misled by dental insurance, you can ease the financial burden by taking the time to find a dentist open to making dentistry affordable through financing options.
The Cost Is not Significant in the Long Run
Many dentists argue that people view their cost as too high because they do not value dental health as an essential part of physical health. Few people, for example, realize that poorly treated gums can lead to gum disease, which in turn is linked to heart disease. If you think about dentistry on a macro scale, you begin to realize that consistency is the most important thing. You want a dentist that you can trust in the same way you would want a cardiologist that you can trust.
If you view teeth as a long-term investment, you will naturally gravitate not towards the cheapest dentists, but the dentists that offer you the best value. Understand that dentists are not a blanket bunch. If you need specialist work, you should avoid visiting a dentist that covers everything, just as you would avoid going to a general practitioner for an operation. If you do visit a dental specialist, take advantage of the opportunity, and ask them who they would recommend as a general dentist. Specialists get patients from a variety of dentists in the area, so they will be able to give you great advice about who looks after their patients the best.