On a weekly basis, I sit with patients that come to me for help because they want their smile back. They feel ashamed, frustrated, and a sense of regret when they smile and speak, even in the presence of family and friends. Typically these patients have not visited a dental office in years. Often they will say something like, “I would come to the dentist all these years but I just don’t have the money.” At Abundant Dental Care, we take extra care to make sure your hard-earned money gets you the dental care you deserve and want. And yet, we do understand that in many cases, finances are tight and it is hard to find the funds necessary to take care of your teeth. And it is precisely for that reason that 6-month recall appointments are so critical. Let’s take a look at the following theoretical scenario:
Allow me to introduce Bill. Let’s suppose that Bill has pristine, beautiful teeth that he is proud of. Bill has the following options:
Bill decides to see his dentist every 6 months for a cleaning and routine exam even though he has no cavities. His exam is 100% covered by his dental insurance. He is able to schedule at a convenient time, like an evening, Saturday, or day off of work. It will be recommended to Bill that he receive fluoride treatment and possibly a couple of sealants to protect his teeth against future cavities because Bill knows that a molar without a sealant has a 95% chance of getting a filling at some point in his life. Protecting his teeth will cost him probably as much as a tank of gas or meal at his favorite restaurant which he can manage.
Bill knows he has nice teeth so he decides to skip out on the dental appointments for 2 years. After this time, he can feel his teeth are rough on the tongue side and one of his teeth is really sensitive whenever he eats candy so he decides it is time to visit Abundant Dental Care. At his appointment, Bill is informed that his gums are starting to show signs of periodontal disease and he will need a deep cleaning to clean off all the rough calculus that has been annoying his tongue. He is also informed that he has 3 cavities that will need to be filled. His insurance will cover 80% but Bill will still be paying about as much as one or two monthly utility bills for his treatment. He really could have used that money elsewhere.
Bill puts off his treatment, telling himself that by not going to the dentist he is saving lots of money. One day his tooth really starts to hurt, in fact, it is completely unbearable. He has to call his boss and explain that he will be missing work today. He knows that money has been tight and he will have to make up the time later this week. When he arrives, he is informed that not only does he need a deep cleaning, but he is showing signs of moderate-severe bone loss and he will need several follow-up visits every 3 months to make sure his bone and gums stay healthy enough so that he doesn’t start losing teeth. His X-Rays reveal that he has seven cavities, one of which is very large and has entered his nerve, causing the severe pain. Unfortunately, he will need a root canal and crown in order to save this tooth. When costs are discussed, he finds out that his dental insurance will only cover 50% of his required treatment and they pay a maximum of $1000/year. Bill now has to make the difficult decision whether he will sacrifice a large portion of his next paycheck in order to fix up his now compromised teeth.
Whether it is the cost of a root canal and crown, several fillings, or even a denture, these dental cleaning services require more money than a years worth of bi-yearly exams and preventative treatment. Whether you need more money for daily necessities or for your next Caribbean vacation, here at Abundant Dental Care we strive to stretch your dollar and the best way we can do that is to have you sit in our chair every 6 months and stop the problems before they start. The lie we tell ourselves is that we don’t have the time and can’t afford to take care of our health.
The truth is, especially if money is tight, you can’t afford not to see us. Visit our website to schedule an appointment today!