Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Why is Dental Care in the US So Very Expensive?

 


 When we lived in Malaysia our home was right across the street from a dental clinic, which was one of many on the island. This clinic was as modern or probably more modern than most I have seen in the US. The equipment was state of the art and the dentists were all trained in Germany or other countries in Europe, as well as the highly rated dental schools in Malaysia. When I knew that we would be soon going to the US to live,  Kevin and I made a trip to our local dentist to get a check up and work done , if needed, as we knew dentistry in the US was expensive. Kevin had 2 wisdom teeth removed and I had a filling and a bridge made. The total cost for the two of us was about 500 US dollars for excellent work.

    Now we live in the US and of course I chipped a couple of teeth and I need a couple of fillings. I knew that it was inevitable that I had to visit the dentist.  I began the process of searching for a dentist, even though I knew there would probably not be too much of a difference in the cost. I asked around and discovered that no one dentist came highly recommended, so I randomly chose one near where we live.

    The dreaded day came when I made my initial visit to the dental office. I must say it was a pleasant experience, as the dentist and his staff were very cordial and explained everything to me. The first day I had an examination and x-rays, which were expected. I was told that a number of teeth would have to have work done on them at some time in the future. Again this was expected. The cost for this visit was a little over $300. The following week received a filling in one of my teeth which was chipped. The cost $495!!!!  At this rate it will cost me thousands to have my teeth taken care of.  In just 2 visits to the dentist in the US I have spend almost as much as 7 years of dental care for both Kevin and myself! As with most people we do not have any dental insurance, which also is quite costly and does not cover much of the dental care. The cost had to go on a credit card, which will probably max out after a few more of the procedures!

    I knew dental care would be expensive here, but I was still shocked to see the exorbitant rates that were charged.  Dental insurance can be much more expensive than medical insurance and it only  covers a certain percentage of the costs.  There are various dental plans which offer discounts on dental work and are more affordable, but the problem is finding a dentist who accepts these plans.
I am sure that there are millions of people, especially seniors and children who go without much needed dental care because they simply cannot afford the outlandish costs. Dental care in the US is more expensive than any other developed country in the world. In Europe no one is denied dental care because of their inability to pay and other countries offer assistance in paying for dental care. When is the US going to wise up and realize that dental health is inextricably linked to overall physical health?  Soon in this country we will be able to ascertain the financial status of a person by looking at their smile!

    Looking at the high cost of dental insurance and dental procedures I have come to the conclusion that it would be cheaper to buy a ticket to Malaysia  and stay a couple of weeks to have our dental work done than to have it done here!

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