You can buy a lottery ticket or becomes a contestant on a game show, but the odds of winning that cool million are slim to none. Did you know that seeing your dentist regularly all your life is the easiest way to sock away a million dollars. And anyone can do it!
We all know that living a healthy lifestyle including eating healthy and exercising regularly prevents backbreaking healthcare debt for you and your family. The number one reason for bankruptcies in America is the crippling cost of healthcare! Living a healthy lifestyle may be fueled by vanity for some, but avoiding trips to the doctor and expensive prescription medications should be our motivator.
Maintaining a healthy mouth can also save you thousands.
Average Joe Sr. who is 58 years old comes into our dental office due to a toothache and says to me "I haven't been to the dentist in over 10 years. I am ready to commit and do whatever it takes in order to avoid toothache like this again!"
The dentist gives Joe Sr. a comprehensive exam takes and a full set of x-rays. Here is his treatment plan:
- 2 of his molars need root canals (urgent).
- 4 of his teeth need crowns.
- 2 of those teeth need a post and core to allow for a crown.
- He needs has 6 large fillings.
- The hygienist finds he is not a candidate for regular cleanings but needs Scaling and Root Planning. (Deep periodontal therapy).
- In order to maintain periodontal health he will need Periodontal cleanings every 3 months for the rest of his life.
This is just to get Joe to a level of oral health so that he can hopefully avoid emergencies in the near future. This is a pretty conservative treatment plan for a 58 year old man who has not regularly visited the dentist. A conservative total based on average dental fees in 2010 for Joe's treatment plan is around $11,460.00!!
His employer group dental plan covers $1000.00 per year, so he will need to cover the balance. Even if the dentist finds a way to prioritize and spread the treatment over 2 years to use 2 years of Joe's insurance benefits, he is still looking at over $9400.00 out of pocket costs. OUCH!
Here's a better scenario:
SEE YOUR DENTIST AND HYGIENIST REGULARLY!
If Joe Jr. comes in at age 30 for the first time since graduating college he is looking at a treatment plan more like the following:
- 3-4 medium size fillings.
- 1 crown on a molar.
- Regular cleanings every 6 months.
Joe got a good job after college and has a typical group dental plan from his job.
Joe Jr's treatment plan is around $2000.00. Insurance would cover 80% of the fillings 50% of the crown and 100% of the cleanings. So Joe Junior coming in at age 30 is looking at about $790.00 the first year and close to zero the other years with regular cleanings being covered by his group dental plan. He may have a cavity now and then and need a small filling. By age 58 he might need a crown or 2 , which could cost him $600-$800. Not even close to Joe Sr's $11,460.00!!!
Even if you do not have dental benefits, you are losing thousands of dollars by not paying for regular checkups and cleanings. A filling may cost $150 - $250 but a cavity left unfilled can be $2900.00 when the nerve gets involved. (Root canal $1400.00, Crown $1200.00, post or buildup $300.00)
REMEMBER: the absence of pain is not indicative of the amount of treatment needed. In other words by the time you are having pain in a tooth, you are going to have a hefty bill even with insurance help, if you can't afford the bill, the tooth could be lost! Waiting until you have a toothache is like throwing away thousands of dollars!
Saving a few hundred now, will cost you thousands later.
If you don't change the oil in your new Jeep Cherokee your engine will seize and you will basically need a new car. (I know this from personal experience many years ago!)
If you avoid regular dental checkups you teeth will start to rebel one by one. Pain and costs that could have been avoided will be urgently needed.
If you avoid the dentist because of anxiety, think about this: regular dental patients have little to no discomfort at their dental visits. It is those who have avoided the dentist who bring their pain into the office and have large urgent costs.
So, call your dentist right now! Have a comprehensive exam and x-rays for about $250.00, doesn't sound like so much money now, does it? Then if you have a healthy mouth, have a cleaning every 6 months for about $100. So you are spending a few hundred a year to maintain your healthy mouth! If you have a group dental plan all or most of these costs may be covered. You may need a filling once in awhile for $150 - $250. But compared to Joe Sr.'s $11,460.00 it is a breeze! Catch the decay and fractures that can occur in everyone's mouth BEFORE they become expensive dental treatment.
Hey where's my million dollars?
Well, If you take what you would spend on 1 crown a year at the dentist ($1200.00) and put $100 every month automatically into a money market account, with decent compounded interest, instead of paying your dentist $11,460.0 at age 58 like Joe Sr. when you retire will have a nest egg of over $1,000,000,000 to spend on something you might enjoy more then a dental visit. How about a new Jeep Cherokee?