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The three tiered cost of dental treatment, or “You better pick door #1”

When people complain about the cost of dental treatment, there is often one factor that has not been considered:  barring accidents, almost all dental problems could have been prevented.  For one reason or another, steps were not taken to prevent the problems, and they were allowed to progress until they became expensive to fix.  This is a shame, because the cost of prevention is much less than the cost of treatment.

Even if treatment is required, early treatment of a dental problem will cost less than late treatment.  Behold, the three tiers of dental treatment costs:

1) cheap- this is where you ideally want to keep your dental costs.  Routine, preventive everyday procedures such as hygiene visits, fluoride, sealants, Prevora, night guards (aka bite planes), sports mouth guards are cheap!  If you are a nighttime grinder, it’s much better to prevent wearing your teeth down to stubs than to need a mouth full of crowns.

The cost of dental treatment is still low when you factor in basic restorative measures such as fillings.  If cavities can be stopped with small fillings, the teeth are much better off, and so is your bank balance.

So, the best advice is to attend your dental office regularly, so problems can be detected and intercepted early.

2) moderate- when problems are allowed to increase, such as cavities that have gotten large, or gum disease that has gotten beyond the scope of basic treatment, the costs of dental treatment required to bring your mouth back to health will begin to rise considerably.  A tooth that could have been sorted out with just a small filling will now need a root canal, core, and crown.  Gum disease that might have been addressed with some more rigorous hygienist cleaning now needs periodontal surgery.  On top of that, these procedures will leave you with weaker teeth and less gum/bone tissue than if intervention was done earlier.

3) expensive- this is when the costs of dental treatment begin to involve not just money, but teeth as well.  Problems allowed to get really bad will require extractions and replacement of missing teeth, and while extractions are cheap, decent replacement teeth are not.  Whether this involves a single tooth implant or a full workup to reconstruct an entire bite, the dentistry involved will be more costly and time consuming than either of the previous two stages.

So, think you’re going to outsmart your mouth by only following your insurance plan coverage?  You may get away with it if your needs are already low, but if your dental needs are not met, nature will inevitably take its course and in retrospect, the costs of prevention would have been a lot more attractive.

Contact us for a complete oral examination and identify your problems early on!  We’d love to be your Barrie dentist (and keep your dentistry cheap).

Dr. Elston Wong Portrait

About Dr. Elston Wong

Dr. Elston Wong completed his dental degree at The University of Toronto in 1999 before arriving in Barrie in 2002. After graduating, he continued to learn everything he could about dentistry. Now he has taken the time to share important information for anyone to read.

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