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As Dental Cost Rises 27% We Ask: Do Dentists Profit or Protect?

Fear of the dentist, the struggle to find a trustworthy dental office, and the rise in dental cost are all prime examples of why many people avoid going to the dentist.

In 2014, the American Dental Association claimed 52.3% of adults reported going to the dentist every 6 months. Only 15.4% claimed to have visited once a year, and 11.0% visit once every 2-3 years. Shockingly, 21.3% have not been to the dentist in over three years.

Dentist Salary in America

According to the United States Department of Labor, last year the annual median salary of a dentist was $156,240. How much of that salary do you think is justified?

Dental jobs are predicted to increase in the next few years by 19% overall. When you compare that rise in dental cost to the national average of 7% growth in employment, the figure surpasses expectation.

The average person’s salary is roughly $63,688 per year, less than half of what a dentist brings home every year. Why is that?

Rise in Dental Cost

rise in dental cost

For years dentists have claimed that routine check-ups are necessary to develop and maintain good oral hygiene. Check-ups are the most common reason for visiting a dentist. Other dental procedures like fillings, tooth extractions, crowns, root canals, and even gum disease are other common requests.

Studies show that roughly 47.2% of adults over the age of 30 suffer from untreated gum disease. Purchasing dental insurance is commonly held as a simple and very cost-effective solution for the average person, but the problem is, what does it cover?

Routine care such as x-rays and check-ups are usually covered. However, only 50%-80% of the cost to perform fillings and major procedures are covered. Pricing varies within the industry, practice, doctor, or even the opinion. The wide range of procedure costs leave dentists free to charge extensive amounts as they desire.

Botched Cosmetic Dentistry

Cosmetic dentistry is not recognized by the ADA or considered to be a specialty field. The recent rise of this pseudo-occupation gives new dental graduates immediate access to work in an industry with little to no oversight.

Roughly $35.2 billion is spent every year on cosmetic dentistry in the United States. Of that estimate, $10 billion accounts for redoing work previously done by another “cosmetic dentist”. The advantage for a dentist is they can demand a more expensive dental cost for services they sell you.

Usually these “dental plans” are optional dental procedures at best, but are presented in a way that the patient feels they have no option but agree to them. This emotional selling is essentially dentistry by duress. Sadly, it is what keeps these dentists in business. 

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