The Cost of Dental Treatment
The True Cost of Dental Treatment
“…check up once in a while and make sure that you haven’t lost the things that money can’t buy” (George Lorimer).
OK, so we’re pretty sure that this quote wasn’t originally about teeth but it certainly rings true! Teeth are important and you can’t buy teeth. We all know that prevention beats intervention but keeping teeth healthy costs money, right? And going to the dentist can be expensive? We take a look at two dental patients and their treatment over a 15 year period. Both patients are a similar age and start out with pretty similar teeth. One attends for regular examinations, the other has a pattern of avoidance and attends when they are aware of a problem. (The following includes some examples of our fees at current rates. To learn more about pricing of treatment in our practice click here).
Patient A attends regularly for dental examinations and teeth cleaning, twice a year over the 15 year period. Regular appointments allow for a focus on prevention which keeps new problems to a minimum and keeps and long-term gum disease under control. Despite being relatively low risk for problems with her teeth, problems do arise over time but we are able to catch things early.
Exams (012) - 30 at $70 each = $2100
Routine cleaning (114) - 30 at $115 each = $3450
X-rays (022) - 10 at $50 each = $500
Fillings (532) - 3 at $250 each = $750
Total = $6,800 or $453 / year on average
The total here might look intimidating in itself but you have to remember this is spaced out over a VERY long period of time. In the above example, we have been able to avoid more complex treatments such as root canals, crowns and replacement of teeth. More importantly, we have been able to prevent many new problems occurring and the patient has ended up with more healthy teeth and gums and the end of this period. Looking forward over the next 15 years, we are expecting this patient to require minimal maintenance as a result.
Patient B attends irregularly, approximately once every 5 years during the 15 year period and when she has become aware of a problem. Although quite low risk for developing problems, cracks and decay that have started out small have had the chance to become more complex problems. Gum disease has also become more advanced and ended up requiring specialist care.
Exams (012) - 3 at $70 each = $210
Routine cleaning (114) - 6 at $115 each = $690
Advanced cleaning with specialist - $2000 (estimate only)
X-rays (022) - 12 at $50 each = $600
Advanced x-ray imaging - $350
Fillings (532) - 2 at $250 each - $500
Large filling (535) - $400
Extractions (311) - 2 at $275 each = $550
Root canal treatment on back tooth (415, 416, 417, 418) - $1600
Crowns on back teeth - 2 at $1800 each = $3600
Implant to replace one missing tooth - $5000
Total = $15,500 or $1033 / year on average
In this example, problems that were initially small became larger before they were treated, resulting in more complex treatment and the loss of two teeth, one of which was then replaced. More importantly, this patient has ended up with lasting damage to the teeth and gums and is now expected to require a much higher level of maintenance over the years to come.
Of course, everyone is different and has different treatment needs but the above examples represent some pretty typical scenarios that we see play out over time. Almost all of the time, avoiding regular visits to the dentist results in more complex treatment, more cost and more lasting damage to the teeth and gums.
In the long run, regular visits to the dentist are not only great for your health but also make great financial sense! So can you afford NOT to have regular dental visits?
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Please feel free to contact us for any information about our practice or your dental treatment. Appointments can also be made online using our easy online booking system.