I’m terrified of going to the dentist. I mean, I’m also terrified of poor oral health. But I’m really, really terrified of going to the dentist and needing to get a painful procedure or be told I need to look into clear braces. Therefore, I completely understand putting off going because you don’t want to deal with it. However, whether you look at it from the view of health or from a financial perspective, it makes sense to keep those regular dentist appointments.
I’ve Spent a Lot Of Money on My Teeth
I try to take good care of my teeth. However, I’ve had a lot of dental problems over the years. I inherited bad teeth. I ate too much sugar and still drink too much wine. My teeth aren’t great. I wish they were, but alas, they’re not my best trait.
Inheriting poor oral health means that over the years I’ve spent A LOT of money on my teeth. Well over $20,000. I’ve had more deep cleanings than I count. That’s not to mention all of the fillings and crowns and root canals. Oh, and the $5,000 complicated wisdom tooth removal. Two of my teeth were completely sideways under the gums and had to be cut in half because the nerves were wrapped around the roots. My mouth is not easy and it’s not inexpensive.
Because of many bad experiences at the dentist, I do my best to avoid having to go in. But I know better.
Going to the Dentist is Pricey
Going to the dentist regularly is expensive. Even if you’re lucky enough to have dental insurance, it usually doesn’t cover very much. Therefore, you often have to pay out of pocket for dental expenses.
I’ve tried cutting corners before. I once went to a dental school where you pay a significantly lower price for students to work on your teeth. It was cheaper than going to the regular dentist, of course. However, it was an awful experience.
These days, I pay a lot to go to the dentist. I like to get the best in the business. Moreover, I ask for all of the extras. I want the sedation for people with high anxiety. I want the places that offer pet therapy to soothe me while I’m in the chair. It’s all worth the cost to me.
For the average person, of course, the dentist isn’t quite as expensive. After all, most people don’t require those extras. Still, the cleanings and x-rays and whatnot do add up.
Poor Oral Health Costs More In The End
Because you often have to pay out of pocket for dental costs, it can be tempting to skip those regular appointments. But poor oral health ends up costing you more in the end. The longer you go between visits, the more likely it is that you’ll need to get a deep cleaning instead of just a regular cleaning. A deep cleaning costs more, often lots more.
Of course, poor oral health also makes it more likely that you’re going to need those extra things like fillings, and crowns, and eventually dentures. If you have a dental emergency, you’ll not only pay a hefty fee, but you might also have to miss work to go get a root canal. I’d probably have had a lot of dental costs regardless of my oral hygiene but the more I avoided the dentist, the worse the problem got.
Moreover, poor oral health is correlated with other health issues. If you have problems related to pain or inflammation or a lowered immune system then your teeth might be to blame. Therefore, your other health costs might go up. Your health is better if your oral health is better. And, it turns out, your budget is better too.