Affordable Dental Care Beyond the Numbers
A century ago, almost half of all the adults in North America had no teeth whatsoever. Advances in dental cosmetics have now made it so that less than one tenth of adults over 65 have lost teeth. Similarly, advances in the way we think about dental health have blurred the lines between cosmetic dentistry and general dentistry, taking into account such factors as psychological health, overall physical health, financial success, and relationship success.
Research by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) shows that over 60% of cosmetic dentistry patients are female. Over 51% of patients are between the ages of 41 and 60. These are impressive numbers in and of themselves, but the AACD also reports that a whopping 99% of Americans believe that one of your most important social assets is your smile.
With such huge emphasis placed on the importance of a healthy smile, affordable dental care, whether for cosmetic reasons or for basic dental cleanings, is obviously a major concern for most Americans. But the average cost of cosmetic procedures ($5,000 to $6,000 per person) can be daunting. In the United States alone, over $1.4 billion is spent each year on whitening procedures and products. Dental implants can easily be the most expensive procedure, with a completely new set of teeth starting in the $20,000-$25,000 range (for an “all on four” implant procedure).
However, it’s important to note that the vast majority of implantation costs are a one-time expense. While traditional adhesive-based dentures require constant care and frequent follow-up corrections, dental implants are more secure, more realistic (both aesthetically and functionally), and boast a surgical success rate of 98%. Unlike veneers, which only last between five and ten years, and whitening procedures that must be repeated at regular intervals (sometimes monthly), teeth placed on dental implants using the latest dental technologies can last a lifetime, with proper care.
When speaking of affordable dental care in terms of the effect it has on your overall quality of life, some calculations are easy. Will porcelain veneers help you get a better job or increase your effectiveness at your current job? Will a procedure significantly improve your dental health, which will help your digestion, immunological response, and even help maintain healthy blood sugar levels? If the answer is yes, then even a higher-priced procedure could easily fall under the category of affordable dental care.
But some aspects are less quantifiable. Will a procedure make you more confident? Will implants be noticeably more hassle-free than adhesive-based dentures? How much happier will you be, knowing that your teeth are straight, white, and fully functional? These questions, while harder to answer, are still key components in the debate about affordable dental care. This is a great source for more: Dentist kirkland