PBS’ FRONTLINE is promoting a new investigation on dental care affordability. In it, they cite a startling statistic:
“One in three Americans can’t afford to see the dentist.”
More than 100 million Americans do not go to the dentist for checkups and cleanings because of the cost, according to PBS FRONTLINE and the Center for Public Integrity. As a result, many go broke trying to afford dental care or suffer from extreme pain.
I addressed this topic exactly a year ago. In Pricey Procedures for People who Skip the Dentist, I wrote, ” … in these tough times, don’t feel like you have to choose between groceries and your gums. Skipping out on dental cleanings and checkups may very well come back to bite you down the road.”
Despite the fact that millions of Americans are deliberately avoiding the dentist because of cost, the end result is the same: It’s going to cost MORE money down the road. Cavities that aren’t filled, for instance, can grow and become infected – resulting in potentially dangerous tooth abscess.
Here’s an excerpt from the FRONTLINE investigation:
“Going without dental care can ruin lives. Louis Morris, 33, of Philadelphia, found out on Saturday while seeing a dentist for the first time in 15 years at a volunteer clinic that his gum infection had worn away at his jawbone, could spread to other parts of his body and wipe out all of his teeth, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Morris already had lost several of his teeth.
Forgoing dental care sometimes is fatal. Kyle Willis, a 24-year-old father from Cincinnati, died from a tooth infection last year because he could not afford antibiotics or to get the tooth pulled out, according to ABC News. He was unemployed and had no health insurance. The infection spread, caused his brain to swell and then killed him.”
If you are among the millions of people who fear they can’t afford the dentist, take comfort in knowing there are financing options in place to help patients pay their bills easily and more affordably. Talk to us about your concerns at your appointment. Your dental health is our priority, and we’re willing to work with you to formulate easy payment options.