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Factors Impacting Dental Care Costs

Estimates suggest that Americans spent $106 billion on dental care in 2010 (The Pew Center on the States). While consumers may not think it is fair that they have to pay substantial money just for an hour of a dentist’s time, that is not the only factor that influences costs implementing dental treatments. The reality is that there are various components that influence the cost of dental care.

According to Slate.com, professional dental care makes up 4.5 percent of the total health care expenditures for the average American and a majority of the bills need to be paid out of pocket as countless individuals have no dental insurance. The price tags for dental care will vary based on the type of dental treatments implemented (a basic dental cleaning is a bargain compared to the price tag for dental implants), however the prices for each dental treatment will also fluctuate from dentist to dentist and there are many factors that influence the structure.


Some economic experts have predicted student loan debt is going to help pave the way to the countries next economic disaster. Overall, there is more than $900 billion dollars in active student loan debt, with the average college responsible for about $25,000 starting with the first day of graduation. Dentists have to achieve an education level equivalent to the likes of a traditional doctor or lawyer and that cost up to $75,000 more.

Unlike other fields that require higher learning, dentists do not bill patients an hourly rate and instead set their price point to cover not only office expenses but in order to turn a profit in order to best manage their fiduciary responsibilities. Since every dentist has had a different path to achieve their career goals, pricing for their work will fluctuate based on their education and as they see fit.

Dental Office Equipment

The average dental clinic has a ton of equipment that looks as if it has come off the set of a science fiction film. While a doctor can make do with a stethoscope and wooden tongue depressors, in order to be through, dentists need to rely on expensive supplies such as on-site X-ray machines, dental drills and adjustable chairs. All that paraphernalia is expensive. Estimates suggest that an average of $450,000 to $500,000 is needed for dental office start up costs and chances are the pricing dental treatments includes a portion being allotted to paying off those expenses and manage the upkeep to ensure the devices all work properly.

Dental Insurance

For thousands of years, humans have relied on insurance to minimize their financial losses due to health issues, car accidents and fires. While many patients know that dental insurance can provide a financial break, dentists also need coverage to protect their assets just in case and that can add up.

A professional dentist has to pay an assortment of premiums to prepare for the worst case scenarios including malpractice coverage, disability insurance, life insurance, office overhead insurance and workers compensation. Combined, the coverage will help protect a dentist and his heirs from the worst case scenarios. Ultimately those costs will also impact how much a dentist may charge for their efforts.

The Great Recession has forced thousands of Americans to skip their annual dental exams as many feel that the cost for dental care is too much. According to a 2009 Harris Interactive/HealthDay Poll, 50 percent of uninsured and 30 percent of insured Americans skipped their annual dental care to save money.

Those who choose to skip the dentist are making a big mistake as paying to repair dental neglect is far more expensive than paying for preventative dentistry in the first place. Individuals looking to find a dentist who may work with their budgetary constraints can call 0900-DENTIST.

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