When does dentistry become too expensive?

When Simon gives a lecture on diabetes and oral health, there is one question he is asked all of the time, “Why is dentistry so expensive?”

One in four Australian adults visits a dentist less than once a year, usually for a dental problem rather than prevention.

According to the latest Australian research, about 40 per cent of the population do not go for regular check-ups. The report highlighted those who avoid going to the dentist are also three times more likely to have untreated tooth decay or gum disease.

Prevention vs treatment

When it comes to oral health, the vast majority of the population have many misinformed ideas around dental treatment and cost. People generally think if there is no pain in the mouth, there is no problem, therefore no need to visit the dentist.

Unfortunately, this is not the case. The reality is that both tooth decay and gum diseases are silent diseases. By the time you experience pain, the infection has been there for quite some time.

Nursing all of your teeth into a denture vs preventive dentistry

The following is a simple cost analysis of the risk of what it could cost you not to attend the dentist at least once per year:

Table with costs of teeth extraction per year
Table with yearly treatment costs

On the other hand, most health insurance companies cover 60-80% of preventive therapies, which includes dental examinations, scale and cleans, and x-rays.

Table with yearly preventive procedure costs

So the next time you find yourself thinking whether or not you should visit your dentist
for the annual check, scale and clean, ask yourself this question… “does this decision make financial sense for my oral health in the long term?”.

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