Dental work bites your pocketbook: Why is it so expensive?


Cover of "My Dentist"

Cover of My Dentist

I have always had good health, and I am really grateful for that. But, one part of my body seems to be falling apart, my teeth. Maybe human’s weren’t meant to live as long as they do now-a-days. It seems like teeth go before the rest of our bodies.

My teeth have never been wonderful. When the tooth fairy was giving out teeth,  she must have given me the second-rate ones. Maybe she knew I wasn’t ever going to be rich and famous and didn’t need to be photographed. It might also have something to do with the inheritance I got from both my mother and grandmother. They both owned dentures which they faithfully soaked in Polident every night. Dental Implants, which stay in your mouth permanently, are an improvement.

To clarify, I am constantly brushing and flossing my teeth. I have said aloud to anyone who was listening, “I no longer have to take care of children, but I always have my teeth to keep me busy.”  I guess I’d be completely toothless now, if I didn’t do that. I know people without teeth, and it’s not a pretty picture. People shouldn’t have to go around looking like that because they’re financially strapped.

In my sixties my teeth have become very high maintenance.

When I was a kid, I went to a dentist who was continually putting silver cavities in my mouth. One time when a new dentist drilled my tooth I complained about the way the Novocaine felt. So, he let me go without it. I would  not recommend this. I will never complain about Novocaine again.

The silver cavities have been replaced with beautiful white ones because the original ones only last so long .Now, I need crowns on my teeth.  A crown protects your nub of a tooth. ( The dentist files down your tooth to fit the crown.) A guess they call them crowns because they’re about as expensive as the one of the  English  crown jewels. (Okay, I’m exaggerating.)

Unfortunately, I lost 2 teeth in the past couple of  years.  I was going to a dentist who was having some  emotional problems,  and he told me not to worry about my teeth that were  slightly wiggling and a little mushy.  I should’ve known better, but I listened to him.

By the time I got to a good dentist, it was too late.  I had to get them pulled by a fancy periodontist in a fancy office.  It was a surreal experience.

Cover of "Cast Away (Widescreen Edition)&...

Cover of Cast Away (Widescreen Edition)

mainly, because I used to have dreams that my teeth were falling out. When the periodontist was pulling out my tooth I must have  had the look of  panic on my face. He said, “at least I’m not taking off your arm.” This put it in the proper perspective.

If that wasn’t bad enough, he later did surgery on 3/4 of my mouth. He opened up my gums and got all the gunk out, then he sewed them back up.   It only hurt when he put those 3 fancy shots of Novocaine in my gums.  He did this surgery that was supposed to “save my teeth.” He even called to see how I was doing the next day. I found that amazing. How many doctor’s call you to see if you’re still alive?  I finally understand what being long-in-the-tooth means. More gum then tooth, and you’re getting up there in years.

It worked for a while, but  time is marching on. Not only am I now “long in the tooth”  but some of my teeth are just not going to last. I have a feeling there are more crowns in my future.

I visit the dentist every 3 months, and the periodontist on the alternate 3 months. These are like my closest friends now. No offense to them, but I’d rather be socializing with other people.

The crowns are so fancy that each of these majestic coverings is going to cost me over $1.000.00.a piece. Yes, I do have Dental insurance, but it doesn’t pay for the whole crown. Only 25%. Does that mean they only care about  1/4 of my tooth.

I think the dental profession is getting away with overcharging all of us.

 I personally know elderly people who will not get the replacement teeth because it’s just too expensive. This doesn’t seem right to me. Isn’t there something undignified about going around with your teeth missing? Besides, you can’t do much else when your past 90, but eat.

To be fair I’m glad we have dentists, periodontists, and dental hygienists
My dentist is so good that my kids still use him when they come to visit. He’s a very nice guy, and I don’t think he would be overcharging if he didn’t have to. I’m wondering if it’s the dental labs.

There’s nothing worse than a bad toothache. Remember Tom Hanks in that movie, Cast Away; he was deserted on an island and had to pull his own tooth out. I could feel his pain.

Why is it so expensive?

Don’t they know that times are tough? Does it really cost thousands of dollars to make those fancy crowns and implants? How much do they make on each sale?

Am I just a whiner? Is the cost justified? Tell me about your experiences.

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6 thoughts on “Dental work bites your pocketbook: Why is it so expensive?

  1. Hmmm… Mom tells me Medicare pays for her dental expenses. I am scared to death of the gum surgery. I brush, stimulate, rinse, floss, and crunch on carrots. I have dental insurance that is quite minimal. It pretty much pays for nothing except cleaning and diagnostics.

    Your post reminds me of something my husbands says, “The older we get the more our lives revolve around doctors appointments.” I hate that he seems to be righter every year.

  2. Hi,
    I am back again. It sounds like the people in the States are beginning to have the same problems as the people here in Germany when it comes to rising costs for dental care.
    Dental costs here are about ten times as high as they are in the United States, and it is very advisable to take out a dental insurance. I am looking at taking one out soon. For the most part the insurances here will cover anywhere from 60 to 75 percent and you have to pay the rest.
    From reading your article, I believe dental organizations all over the western world are pretty expensive. However, there are countries like Hungary and Bulgaria where you can get good dental care, and you pay a third or less of what you pay here in Germany and many of the Germans are now flying there for dental work.
    Very good informative article. I was really surprised at the high costs for dental care in the States.
    Ciao,
    Patricia

    • Interesting about Germany, and Bulgaria and Hungary. My dental insurance pays good for cleanings, but not extra stuff like crowns that is really cosmetic. I know they pay more for bridges than implants, but that is more annoying, and they don’t pay much more. I do know someone who is pretty poor and does not have teeth. I don’t know if it’s her choice or what. So, maybe I’m being unfair.

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