Far exceeding many other industries, the cost of dental care in the United States has increased twice as fast as the rate of inflation over the last half century. At the same time, about 108 million Americans have no dental insurance coverage, typically meaning they either pay for dental costs and services out-of-pocket or go without care altogether.
Why is dental care so expensive?
There are several reasons for the high cost of dental care.
"The retail cost of dental services is up to the individual practitioner, and it’s generally going to be dictated by what the market will withstand."
First, there’s the fact that dentists and hygienists are skilled professionals who perform a necessary service that impacts the health and well-being of the population. Like other medical professionals, their investment of time and resources into perfecting their skills and offering such a valuable service requires adequate compensation.
At the same time, there are no regulations governing what a dentist in this country can charge for a given service. The retail cost of dental services is up to the individual practitioner, and it’s generally going to be dictated by what the market will withstand. And emergency or specialty procedures — such as a tooth extraction or root canal — often come with an even heftier price tag. As with any free market enterprise, the more in demand a dentist is, the more flexibility he or she has to charge for their time.
Finally, the overall cost of running a business, obtaining state-of-the-art supplies and equipment, and supporting a skilled staff has risen over the years, especially in the medical field. So, although they may seem to be charging significantly for dental care, many dentists are simply adapting to and keeping up with industry trends.
Dental discounts offer a two-fold benefit
Fortunately, there are tools available to help put quality care within reach despite this increase in dental costs and the rising price of dental insurance. Joining a dental discount program is one of the easiest and most effective ways to realize more affordable dental care.
A dental discount program is a membership program that provides you access to a nationwide network of dentists who have agreed to offer set discounts on general dental care and advanced services, typically between 20% and 50%. For a small monthly or annual fee, you receive a dental savings card that will immediately apply those discounts to your bill at any participating dentist in the country.
But, these discount programs offer another powerful benefit too:
Their popularity has introduced a healthy element of competition into the dental industry. Knowing that many patients need quality dental care at a reasonable price, and that many dentists have joined to provide just that, offices that may otherwise continue to raise prices can take stock of the situation and consider more conservative price increases to maintain enough patients to support business.
If you’d like to find a solution for more affordable dental care, see how Dental Solutions can help you immediately begin saving on your dental care.