I’ll admit I don’t get to the dentist as often as is recommended. It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s just I can’t afford it. Not only do I not have dental insurance, so everything must be paid for out of pocket, but I lose income by going. I’m paid by the hour and dentists only seem to be open during normal working hours. I have to miss work to go. Essentially, I’m charged twice if you think about it. Even though I don’t go very often, I do try to go every two years. I rarely have a problem with my teeth, but I get a lecture every single time. I’ve switched dentists every couple of years for that very reason, but no matter who I go to, there’s still that lecture. Why are they so judgmental? Why can’t they seem to understand it’s a sacrifice for many people to get to the dentist?
I can understand your frustration. Here you are trying your best, making sacrifices to even get to the dentist and when you do, they treat you like someone who doesn’t take care of things. First, I want you to know that not all dentists will lecture you. In fact, some dentists will just be grateful you came and tell you so. Both sets, judgemental and non-judgmental, likely have the same mindset behind their response. They care and want you to get the proper care for your teeth. They go about it different ways, some more productive than others, but they mean well.
It sounds to me like you want dental care, but you need an affordable dentist. There are dentists who work to keep their fees down. They may even work with your schedule, so you don’t lose income. Explain your work situation. It may not be that they hold regular Saturday or evening hours, but would be willing to meet with you twice a year at less than peak times so you don’t lose income to get your teeth cleaned. They wouldn’t want you to advertise they’re doing that, but would be willing to help.
Another option is to consider using a program such as Care Credit. It’s a medical “credit card” of sorts. It allows you to go ahead with treatment and then slowly pay out the bill for the services you receive. Depending on what type of credit you have, you may even be able to get zero interest payments.
Something patients don’t generally consider is how much going to the dentist regularly saves them money, health, and time. If you get your teeth cleaned regularly you’re less likely to develop a cavity. If you do happen to develop one anyway, they’re often caught so early that a simple, small filling will be enough. When things are left to progress without early intervention you end up with a more invasive (and costly) procedure, such as a root canal treatment, or worse, an extraction and the need to get a tooth replacement.
This blog is brought to you by Dr. Kevin Peck.