Many people believe dental treatment can be expensive and in some ways, I can understand their thinking.
Regular six month hygiene cleans and check-ups seem to come around quickly.
And if you require more complex work, which is generally more expensive, getting along to the dentist can be even more challenging.
I understand that . Regardless of a person’s life stage, we must each work within our financial means.
Whether we are a family with children, a retired baby boomer, or young millennial, dental treatment costs are an important factor to consider. This is especially the case for anyone who’s oral health is important to them.
But is dental treatment really expensive? It’s a very subjective question and one I explore the answer to with the following story.
Dental treatment isn’t expensive; neglect is
Over the past eighteen months I have treated a young man who is a good example of what not to do when it comes to dental treatment.
Originally seeing me for an emergency because he had a sore tooth, he said he could only afford a ‘band-aid’ measure, which in this instance was a temporary filling.
His reason? A proper filling was not in his current budget.
In the period between when he first visited me and his most recent visit, he returned a second time.
By its nature a temporary filling is just as it’s described: temporary. It was no surprise then, that between visits, the temporary filling deteriorated.
Despite my recommendations for a permanent, more durable filling, on this second visit, he insisted on having a temporary filling again. He made this decision, even though it was obvious the tooth’s condition had worsened between visits. This was due to the continuing development of decay.
It was therefore no surprise to me that just a few months later he was back in my treatment room. By this stage, the tooth had completely deteriorated.
A likely treatment option for this gentleman is root canal therapy. If left too long, he may even need to have the tooth extracted and replaced with an implant and dental crown.
Individually, these treatment options are far more expensive a permanent filling.
While a permanent filling may have been a stretch financially on the patient’s first visit, like many short term measures, they can end up costing more. Even if he elects to have the tooth extracted and not invest in other treatment, there is a significant cost.
Long term, this gentleman’s bite and chewing will be affected.
His ability to eat and enjoy certain foods could be impaired.
He may also lose confidence in his smile and the way he looks.
He may need to have time off work due to discomfort and pain caused by the tooth. He may feel unwell because of side effects from the tooth’s infection.
When you look at timely dental treatment this way, it starts to look like a prudent value proposition.
What’s the value in dental treatment?
We’ve all heard the saying ‘actions speak louder than words’ and I feel this story is a good example of this.
I strongly feel this patient could have benefitted from taking a preventive, rather than reactive approach.
In my experience as a dentist, I’ve seen this happen when people are reactive.
I’ve observed those who stick with their good oral hygiene at home, and maintain their regular dental visits, have no issues, i.e. they do not require additional dental treatment.
Those that don’t stick to their regular visits or maintain their oral hygiene, almost always have an issue that emerges.
Preventive care is by far the most cost-effective dental treatment there is. It’s where the real value of dental treatment lies.
One of the primary advantages of preventive care is that it’s very much in the hands of the individual. And this is very empowering.
Regular brushing and flossing is essential, together with maintenance of regular hygiene visits and check-ups at your dentist.
Taking preventive actions like these, and investing in oral health at the ideal time, would have made all the difference to the outcome for the man in my story.
And it’s why I maintain dental treatment isn’t expensive, however neglect is.
How do you feel about the cost of dental treatment? Do you feel it’s worth the investment? Share your thoughts about how you feel about the cost of dental treatment.
Dr Nimesh offers an understanding approach to dental care that will ensure you’re able achieve the highest quality of oral health through the most ideal treatment – at the right time.
If you have dental treatment concerns, book an appointment to talk to Dr Nimesh today.