Working in the dental field, I have a good understanding of fees associated with dentistry. Dental work is expensive. The materials are very expensive and made in few places around the world (usually Germany, USA and Canada). Most people avoid the dentist if they don’t have dental insurance but it doesn’t, and shouldn’t, be that way.
Prevention is Key
The mentality in North American, and what I practice everyday, is that it is better to prevent disease from happening, than treat disease when rampant. My job as a dental hygienist is to educate you and ideally through our combined efforts prevent you from ever needing any dental work. Though some dental issues are not preventable (genetics, accidents) almost all dental issues we see and treat everyday are preventable.
What Are My Options?
If you don’ t have dental insurance it’s not an excuse to not to go! If you have a pretty good track record, going to the dentist/hygienist at least once per year for a cleaning and full exam will go a long way. For an approximate price of $200/year your preventative care can be taken care of. Obviously some people need more work but going at least once per year is better than nothing. Setting aside even $20 per month in your budget is a reasonable start.
If you know you’ll need additional work figure out your options. Get an approximate price from your dental office and see if you can swing it financially. If you’re someone who doesn’t usually need more than one to two cleanings per year and a filling every few years, paying into dental insurance may be a waste of your money. Get the numbers and figure it out for yourself.
I can’t speak for internationally but in Canada the universities that offer dentistry within their curriculum often have a public clinic attached to them. The school I went to had a great clinic where we would see anyone who needed work. They would be triaged by a graduating student and practicing dentist/hygienist to an appropriate student based on their needs. The advantages being top quality work (working with a student who needs to meet competency requirements issued by the school under direct supervision) and much less money. In Canada the schools pricing is approximately 50% that of the Canadian issued fee guide so whatever work you need there will be savings.
The biggest downside to having work done in a teaching facility is time. Given that you’re working with students and advisers it takes significantly more time for even the simplest of things. Time is money isn’t it? You need to weigh your options. If going to a dental school takes you away from making money you otherwise would be able to make, maybe it’s not worth the financial ”savings”.
The mouth is connected to the rest of the body. People tend to forget that neglecting their oral health can have systematic effects. Yes I’m bias, but oral health is a necessary component to any budget, insured or not. I’ve seen (many times) what can happen if you don’t maintain your oral hygiene routines and it can be bad both financially and otherwise.