Showing posts with label Medicare doesn't cover dental health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Medicare doesn't cover dental health. Show all posts

Don't You Just Love American Dental Care?

 

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Many Americans fear going to the dentist, but it's not always the pain they fear.  The biggest fear is the cost of dental treatment.  Sometimes we see people with obviously missing, broken, or crooked teeth and automatically think they are low class or indigent. That is until we have to go to the dentist for a problem ourselves.  Many of us have dental insurance through our employer or personal private insurance.  But that only covers a certain amount per year, usually $1200 a year.

Our insurance is fine for cleanings, x-rays, the occasional filling, and possibly a root canal, but that's it. But what happens if we need a crown, a bridge or God forbid an implant?  Then we're sunk.  Employer dental plans don't cover those kinds of dental care.  They're not usually covered by private insurance plans either. And if you are retired, you have neither employer-sponsored dental insurance nor insurance through Medicare.  
 
The other day I had an appointment for a consultation with a prosthodontist which was recommended by my regular dentist.  I have some missing molars which make it difficult to wear a bridge and my bite changes.  Reluctantly I agreed to this appointment because my dentist thought my insurance might cover any recommended work.  On the day of the appointment, I put the address into my auto's GPS and went on my way. As I turned off the main highway towards my destination my initial reluctance began to be justified.  I entered an area populated with stately oak trees and well-manicured lawns surrounding impressive-looking office suites.  There were probably 15 such buildings within this forested office complex.  As I looked for my final goal, I could see employee parking lots with the occasional  Corvette Stingray, Maserati, Lamborghini, and numerous Lexus and Mercedes.  I remember saying out loud, "holy shit, this is going to cost me."

Upon arrival at the prosthodontist's office, I was immediately taken into the exam room.  When the dentist asked what he could do for me I told him that I didn't expect he could help me, but the appointment was my general dentist's idea.  He then proceeded with the exam and studied the x-rays I had brought with me. He jotted down some notes and then gave me his opinion of what could be done for me.  Then he gave me the cost!

He told me I had 2 options, one was doing just enough to improve my bite a little with a couple of implants and the other option was to fully restore my bite with more implants. The first option was $32,000 and the second option was $115, 000!  I laughed and said, "no way in hell"!  He then said that the only other option was to suggest my dentist make a mouthguard to wear at night which would prevent further damage to my teeth.  The cost would be up to my dentist and it probably would be covered by my insurance. 

As I was driving back home I wasn't disappointed or depressed as I knew that dental care in this country sucked, unless you're wealthy.  If you're a senior citizen or poor you can look forward to a life of liquid diets or gumming your Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners!  You gotta love "merican dental care!


You might like a similar article I wrote on expensive dental care published on Medium.





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