Keep the Dentist From Taking a Bite out of Your Wallet

Want to potentially save hundreds of dollars every year or so? Floss!

Seriously. Take care of your teeth and you can save a bundle. I know this from personal experience (the hard way). I’ve always taken pretty good care of my teeth – I usually brush four to five times a day. However, I admit that I don’t floss as much as I should… until now.

Earlier this week I went to the dentist to fill two small cavities that I probably could have prevented with regular flossing and fluoride rinse. Needless to say, my wallet was emptied of over $300 for about an hour’s worth of work. Ouch!

Now, perhaps I could have gotten a better deal by bargaining with the dentist or shopping around, but my dentist already has reasonable rates on cleanings, and my rate was already discounted from her regular set price.

The lesson here is that with teeth (and many other categories), an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of later maintenance costs. For some people this is easy – I have friends who rarely frequent a dentist’s office and have NEVER had a single cavity. For others (like myself), it seems that no matter how much we care for our teeth, it seems that we’re more naturally inclined to get cavities. Yuck. We’re a dentist’s dream come true.

In an ideal world, one should not have to spend more on one’s teeth than the price of one or two cleanings per year. Anything more is wasteful. I know that there are special circumstances in which one must visit a dentist, but my new goal is to brush, floss, and rinse with fluoride frequently enough that I keep the dentist at bay, except for a cleaning every six months or so.

If I can prevent at least one cavity every year, that’s a savings of $150 annually. More realistically, if I can prevent one cavity from forming every two years, that’s still a savings of about $75 per year based on my dentist’s rate. Since I rarely need to spend any money on floss (my dentist provides me with several containers of floss with every visit), that savings is substantial. And yes, the thought of keeping money in my wallet makes me smile. 🙂

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  1. Pingback: Bill Moyers and Wendell Potter – Profits Before Patients | Interesting Money

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