Why Dental Care Costs So Much In The U.S.

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Americans have a tendency to avoid the dentist. More than 40% of Americans said they don’t see a dentist as often as they would like, according to a 2018 survey by the American Dental Association. Their number one reason for skipping visits is cost, even among those with dental insurance. Dental insurance policies can be confusing and difficult to use, making some Americans wonder whether dental insurance is worth investing in at all. Watch the video to find out to learn what it actually costs to go to the dentist, whether dental insurance is worth investing in and what patients and policymakers can do about it.

0:00 – Introduction
1:42 – How dental insurance works
4:15 – Dental care costs
6:17 – Is dental insurance worth it?
9:49 – Solutions

Americans have a tendency to avoid the dentist. More than 40% of Americans said they don’t see a dentist as often as they would like, according to a 2018 survey by the American Dental Association.

People have lots of reasons for not going, including fear, inconvenience and trouble finding a dentist who take their insurance.

But the top reason Americans cite for avoiding the dentist is cost, with nearly 60% of Americans saying cost was the main reason they haven’t visited the dentist in the past 12 months. Cost remained the number one reason regardless of age, income level or type of insurance.

Dental insurance can be confusing since it’s considered a separate service from medical insurance, which means it has different policies and procedures that many patients are not familiar with.

From a lack of transparency about benefits to rules like annual maximums — which means plans stop paying for treatment after hitting a certain amount for the year — some patients question whether dental insurance is worth investing in at all.

“There’s this misnomer that you need dental insurance to go to the dentist, you really don’t,” said Dr. Mark Vitale, a general dentist and owner of Edison Dental Arts in Edison, New Jersey. “Dental insurance is not the panacea that most people think it is.”

But the industry landscape is shifting as more traditional health insurance companies are supplementing their medical plans with dental benefits.

“Dental insurance is extremely profitable to the insurance companies, which is why many of the insured many of the major carriers offer dental insurance,” Vitale said.

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Why Dental Care Costs So Much In The U.S.


    1. Well, that’s a bit hyperbolic. Although, I do agree most dental practices are run purely as money-generating operations and are not patient-driven. One solution is to drastically increase the number of dentists. That begins with higher enrollment at dental schools. Also, I think it would be fair to cancel their debt if they work for those that require the greatest need for 1 year or some set period of time.

  1. “People are unaware how to access the access.”
    This is why young people hate this entire system. Why is it this hard? Why do taxes have to be so hard? Why is this entire system a giant clusterfuck that we have to go completely out of our way to receive even basic human care. I take care of myself but it is not easy with all these procedural oddities.

    1. “Why” is a dumb question. Things are the way they are in the U.S. because someone gains from it.

    2. Because we still have people running the federal government who don’t understand computers and often don’t ultimately care what kind of future they are building for the rest of the country that isn’t rich.

    3. @Woah Yeah health and dental care is expensive, no doubt, but the comment that I replied to was regarding accessing a dentist via an insurance plan.

      If you want good, safe care with the latest technology, it is very expensive. Their malpractice insurance also drives our costs up. Many Americans are sue-happy.

      A good way to keep your costs down is preventative care and making smart choices. I know people who have bad teeth because they rarely brush and drink lots of beverages with sugar.

      We could save so much money on healthcare by eating better and exercise, but that’s not what people want to hear.

    4. @James Walker oh sweetie… must be nice to have this mindset. Head is so far up there that you’ve become out of touch sounds like.

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    1. @Thugged Out Mexican Ah.. y le sigues? Fíjate qué chistoso- soy anti izquierda así que no estás tan perdido…
      Me gustaba mucho las políticas de Trump. Cómo ves? Pero no vengas aquí de paseo, corazón. Quédate a vivir. Yo no me tuve que ir de mi México para poder hacerla aquí. Sí se puede! Lo que pasa es que ustedes son muy flojos y quieren ayuda del gobierno estadounidense. Mi papá era Jalisciense, mi mamá es Zacatecana y yo nací en Tijuana así que nomas falta que me digas que La Baja es parte de TU país. Jaja.. Pero sabes qué? Sigues tú y sabes por qué? Te lo digo en inglés para que me entiendas: Your turn to reply because insecure people always NEED to have the last word. Ahora sí- prometo y prometo: ¡Adiós!

    2. @edye ann You live in Baja California😂the most Americanized state in Mexico…Ive lived for almost a year in Jalisco Mexico en a rancho surrounded by farms in a pueblito controlled by Narcos Literally when you enter theres guys with radios watching who enters.

    3. @edye ann Que tristeza you remind me of a Mexican version of a trump supporter.

    4. @edye ann Tengo una casa en Mexico… en un pueblito pero tengo ambiciones y USA da mas oportunidades por eso la gente se va pal norte

    1. @Dana C So I’m currently in San Pedro Mártir but my home is the beach area of Tijuana. I know that Americans are afraid to come here but the beach area of my city has its own road. A lot of Americans even live here. And we have so many wonderful dentists. You have to have your passport because both sides of the border are very strict when it comes to that but believe me- you won’t regret it. Just fyi- I don’t recommend downtown Tijuana- but the west of my city, in this case Playas de Tijuana- a lot of good professionals here, again – at a less of the fraction of the cost. Even Americans come here to bring their animals to the vet and quick anecdote: A friend of mine who lives in San Diego was so worried about his 10 year old doggie and they were going to charge him thousand of dollars in San Diego. He came here and we took him to one our vets and turns out he just a really bad but curable tummy infection. He told him to go to ANY pharmacy here and buy him some medicine for HUMAN BABIES. Seriously
      HUMAN BABIES. He did and the dog is still rockin today. Total cost including the appointment: about $45 u.s. dollars.
      It’s truly laughable.

    2. Oh, wow. I hadn’t received notifications until the last one. Yes, I’m in Baja California, Mexico and believe it or not hundreds of thousands of Americans come here every year- especially the beach area of my city to come to the dentist. And these are 100% professional people. At a fraction of the cost from what it costs in the U.S.

  3. Because its the US. where heath care companies treat you as customers, not patients

    1. Well the truth is , health care companies are bussinesses , and you are a customer ,if you cant afford it , then dont go , nobodys entitled to anybodys labor

    2. @Zuzana Zuscinova I think there’s a general misunderstand here for most people. Amazons purpose is to supply you with goods that you payed for. Insurance company’s purpose is to deny claims, if they pushed all claims through they would go bankrupt, there employees jobs are to find a reason to not cover your claims as per the business model

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