Dental Industry Hype

It's unfortunate that I start my first post on such a down note, but some things must be said to be overcome.

The Dental Industry and more accurately the state of Dental care in America today is dismal to say the least.

With stratospheric charges for Orthodontics and Periodontics treatments combined with basic and minimal coverage through Dental Insurance, many millions of people are facing failing health due to this convergence of conditions.

It's estimated that over 100 million Americans have no Dental Insurance at all, and 50 million more have minimal insurance.

I am in the minimal department, and have been for as long as I can remember. And now I'm paying for it.

I haven't had a relatively pain-free dental status in over 10 years, and now I face the dire prospect of allowing the remaining teeth I have to slowly decay (read: rot) away until I can budget the costs (humiliation and embarrasment not covered here) of False Teeth.

While I certainly bare a large portion of the blame for the current condition of my teeth and overall dismal dental/oral health; I feel the piss poor care given to the 'working people' of this country and lack of comprehensive dental coverage is a sin and a crime and also a large contributory factor in mine and millions of others terrible state of oral health.

Since I have to cut this post short, I'll whet your appetite with these numbers. My current coverage is $1500 per year max for Orthodontics, and what is considered 'reasonable and customary' charges for just one root canal and crown would easily wipe that out. And that probably includes copays and deductibles.

So what is one to do when they have multiple dental disasters facing them?

No pun intended, but 'grin and bare it' won't cut it.


Paper Clip's picture

I know what you mean, and it is pretty mind buggling, where 2 procedures such as a root canal and a crown wipe the allowance of $1500.

You got to see if you can get into one of those, Dental clinics that are goverment ran, for the low income families.  I don't know if you would have one in your area, but it's good to check.

I feel your pain


Jrmadden's picture

If either of you have any more information on costs of dental insurances or these government ran places you could spare to post I would appreciate it. I am in undergrad trying to write an argumentative paper on something going on in this 'virtual community' as much teacher calls them. He has these crazy assignments and i guess this topic i could expound on with a little more information from the people conversing within this community

Anonymous's picture

I am going to give you a different perspective.  I am a dentist and have been practiceing for 20 plus years. I feel that dental insurance has done as much bad as good. Let me explain. No one looks for insurance to take care of their hair but from industry figures we know that Americans spend 10 times the money on their hair as they do on their teeth. Many people do not think twice about spending money at the hairdresser but if they have to spend money out of their own pocket for a dental cleaning, forget it! Some one else should pay, be it an employer or government, but NOT ME! I submit that the average person spends more on cigaretts and beer than their teeth. If  people would take responsibility for themselves, then dentistry would cost less and be of little problem, but thats just me I could be wrong!
Paper Clip's picture

That's a very good point, but the reality is that human beings, try to get for free whatever they can get, and the rest they'll pay for, if there is no other choice :-)


brokenteeth's picture

Hello Anonymous Dentist,

It's been awhile since I started this blog and haven't 'budgeted' the time to get back here. But, at 11.00/hr vs. a Dentists income, I have a lot less 'time' to put into my blog, since I have to scramble everyday to juggle bills and a job and a half to barely stay afloat.

But I digress, I am responding to the anonymous dentist’s comments. So let me see if I get this right. You say Americans spend 10X more on their hair than on their teeth? I'll have to budget the time to look into those figures as well, but since I've already seen the numbers for projected spending this year on Cosmetic Dental work alone, I'll use those numbers here for brevity.

It's estimated that Americans will spend 90 BILLION this year on Cosmetic dental work. So if your numbers are right than they will also spend 900Billion on hair care. I seriously doubt it!!

And I don't know which sex is the vainer of the two when it comes to hair care; I suspect it's a close race between the 'balding men' and the 'crazy doo' women. Both of which I think is a huge waste of time, money and investment in vanity. My daughter tried for years to pick on me for the increasing loss of hair on my part, to no avail. But the increasing loss of teeth is something that is neither funny nor healthy.

And you surmise that Dental Insurance is part of the problem?? Excuse me? I suppose we should just outlaw Dental insurance all together. Than the only folks with good teeth will be those who can afford dental care expenses via out of pocket cash payments. And that would probably just suit the dentist’s just fine. No messy insurance claims to deal with. Nor the rules and oversight that bring into play the 'usual and customary' charges. Hey, than you can charge any amount you want, and there would be no nosy insurance companies or government oversight committees to worry about. It can come down to money talks, and everyone else mumbles thru a crumbling dental condition.

Of course I did state when I started this blog, that a large portion of my current dental condition was my responsibility. So let’s touch on the parts that aren't due to poor hygiene on my part.

I was raised by two parents who had false teeth from as young an age as I can remember. They taught totally incorrect methods of brushing, which by the time I was instructed correctly NOT to brush 'back and forth' horizontally, serious damage had already occurred, that would lead to consequences I didn't foresee much farther in the future.

Add to that a severe punch in the mouth by some thug with brass knuckles at the age of 16 (to what at the time appeared to be a perfect set of teeth), at which time I immediately lost two upper front and center permanent teeth. I also damaged the two teeth directly below them, which eventually died and turned black and needed to be removed.

Add to that 20 years of depression from that and a number of other issues stemming from poor parenting (two alcoholic parents), improper dental care throughout that time and poor insurance coverage included in mostly substandard paying jobs, and I found myself in serious dental trouble 11 years ago.

Since that time, a couple of poor dental treatments, child support and credit collapse due to a job injury; and it's been 11 years of no money left for much needed dental care.

Millions of people suffer similar situations today, after years of substandard care, improper training in childhood and lack of funds to meet their basic needs; forget hyper expensive orthodontic and periodontal services. But as recently stated on an economic newscast, the top 25% of 'America' is doing great (I'm assuming that includes 'Dentists') while the bottom 50% are in serious trouble. Well, after hearing this type of report about the 'working' class in this country since I was a kid, in trouble is more like heading for disaster.

And yes, one of my poor choices is smoking. But let’s not go there. A pack a day costs me about $100/month. So if I quit 4 years ago (when I began to lose the first of the last 14 teeth I've lost since then), I would have saved a total of around $4000, up to today. Well, at around $1000 dollars a tooth for major work, I would still have had to say good bye to 10 of those teeth.

Yea, cancel Dental Insurance altogether; that sounds like a solution for the Dentists, but not the millions struggling to make day to day in this country.

Perhaps the Dentist posting above should ask his lawn care person, housecleaner, burger flipping or laundry attendant service providers if they agree.