Can’t Afford the Dentist?

If you can’t afford the dentist, you most definitely can’t afford to skip the dentist.

This post is directed to folks who can still achieve a good outcome with their natural teeth. If that ship has sailed for you, you’re not alone. But, it’s also a tough place to be.

I hope to convince others to avoid this fate.

My mission is to help you make better dental care decisions that will protect your health and your wallet!

Maybe you’ve been told you need a few fillings, or deep cleaning, or a root canal. But nothing hurts. It can be very tempting to just let it go for now.


There is a Way. You Just Need the Will!

I know that many people believe they can’t afford regular preventative care or minor dental work like fillings or deep cleanings.

Don’t succumb to that limiting belief.

There are many reduced-cost and sliding-fee clinics in the US. Take advantage of these resources!

Also, some of the strategies I have laid out in previous posts can help you find a way to get it done.

Take a look at these posts for more ideas:

How to Lower Dental Costs by Phasing Care

Need Dental Work but No Insurance? Save Money by Negotiating with Your Dentist

Can You Buy Dental Insurance on Your Own?

Dental Cavity, No Insurance!

Do You Have to Replace Your Tooth?

Whatever you do. Don’t ignore the problem. Don’t use pain as your treatment indicator!

The Devastating Cost of Forgoing Care

We often talk about the costs of dental care, but let’s frame that question in reverse. What are the costs of NOT getting regular dental care?

Of course, the pain, suffering, and tooth loss caused by major dental problems are very costly to quality of life. But, let’s set that aside.

I’m talking about actual dollars and cents here.

Those who forgo regular visits often only show up to the dentist when a toothache strikes. They’re managing their dental care one toothache at a time.

Unless these folks change their approach, they are likely to end up without teeth. And, it will be a slow, painful and costly process.

I know… I know! A dental visit is all too easy to forget when nothing hurts. Seeing the dentist for regular check-ups is not the favorite item on the to-do list. But, do yourself a favor. Don’t forgo them!

Financial Consequences of the One-Toothache-at-a-Time Approach

Lost wages – Toothaches are unexpected, inconvenient, painful interruptions to our daily lives. They can happen to anyone. However, they tend to happen more often to those who do not see a dentist regularly.

If you don’t have the benefit of sick leave, you will be losing pay for the hours that you’re away from work. You may even have to take the following day or two off to recover from the dental work required. That root canal or tooth extraction becomes much more expensive when lost wages are added in!

Other financial impacts are harder to calculate, but they can be massive.

Career consequences – Many people feel embarrassed about their bad teeth. They are afraid to smile and their confidence is diminished. It’s much harder to engage with co-workers and customers when you feel uncomfortable showing your teeth.

This sheepishness is not without reason.

It’s true. Many people, including employers, show bias toward those with poor dental health. The ability to smile confidently is a key factor to professional success.

Other health problems – Your mouth is not isolated from the rest of your body. Poor dental health can contribute to other very costly health problems including heart disease and cancer.

Chronic dental infections can also deplete you of the energy you need to be your best at work. Talk about a massive cost!

Ultimately – more expensive dental work – Unless you don’t mind losing your teeth slowly and painfully over time, EVENTUALLY something definitive will have to be done.

Many chronic dental avoiders ultimately end up needing dentures. The process of having all of your remaining teeth extracted and dentures made is not cheap. In most cases, taking care of minor dental work over the years would have far cost less.

And, once you have dentures, they’re not maintenance-free. You must care for them with cleaning products. Some people require adhesive to keep them in place.

Dentures often need adjustments or a reline to achieve a better fit. They can fracture and need repair.

Not surprisingly, many people have broken or lost their dentures. Dogs have been known to mistake dentures for chew toys!

Denture wearers are totally dependent on their dentures for teeth. If something happens to them, they have to function completely toothless until the issue is resolved. That is a very vulnerable place to be!

Over time, toothless jaws lose bone. Dentures should be replaced every seven years to accommodate anatomical changes to bone and tissues.

The bottom line –  you will not be free of dental bills because you have dentures!

It is much more difficult to eat with dentures than with natural teeth. They are prone to popping loose.  The fear of a denture popping out can keep people from engaging with others or from public speaking. Again – aside from the reduced quality of life – that can impact professional success.

Many people cannot adapt to their dentures at all.  Those who can afford to often end up paying many thousands of dollars for implants. Again – these solutions are far more expensive than just taking care of minor or preventative work over the years.

No matter what prosthetic result you end up with, it will never be as good as your natural teeth.

Sadly, far too many people spend a lot more money for a worse outcome than they could have spent for a better outcome. And, I hope I’ve convinced you – the costs come from places well beyond the actual dental work.

Fortunately, the vast majority of people can prevent severe dental disease with regular care.

If you’re tempted to just let it go because it doesn’t hurt, I hope I have convinced you otherwise!

If you have any questions or comments, please post them in the comment section below!

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