If you look at the search patterns of people on Google, you’ll find that pretty much everyone is obsessed with “cheap” dentistry. No matter what procedure you’re looking at, from routine checkups to dental implants to dentures, you’ll see that they “cheap” is one of the top search terms.
But is cheap dentistry what we really want? And, if not, why do we think that’s what we want?
Is Cheap Dentistry Good for Patients?
Patients are the ones who are constantly searching for cheap dentistry, so, presumably, they think it’s good for them. It’s easy enough to see how they might think this. On the surface, cheap dentistry seems like a good deal. It fits in the budget, which is always crowded.
But there’s a problem. Cheap dentistry can actually be very expensive. Cheap dentistry isn’t good dentistry. While it may solve today’s problem, it’s compromised. Either it’s an incomplete solution, or it’s not a long-term solution. Whether there are problems that go untreated or the solution is temporary, you’ll end up needing more treatment soon. And in the meantime, you have poor dental health, which contributes to poor overall health and lowers your quality of life.
Plus, you’re more likely to lose your teeth after a few cycles of damage and repair, so you end up needing to replace your teeth, which is a priceless loss.
Is Cheap Dentistry Good for Dentists?
If cheap dentistry ends up costing more over the long run, then it must be good for dentists, right? After all, they’re the ones who are getting paid this money, and by working cheaper, they can bring in more patients to make their office profitable.
Actually, cheap dentistry is as bad for dentists as it is for patients (and possibly worse). Dentists have costs they need to cover, which means that offering cheap dentistry keeps their margins very low. With low margins, dentists have to bring in a steady stream of patients to serve. They don’t have much time to spend with any of their patients. This means they barely have time to provide care, and not time to provide quality care, let alone time to get to know the patients they are serving.
As a result, dentists, who went to school with a noble goal of helping people achieve and maintain beautiful, healthy smiles, never have time to know the people they’re serving and can’t achieve the results they want. Instead, they become poorly paid workers who also suffer reduced quality of life.
Cheap Dentistry Is Good for Insurance Companies
So, if it’s not good for dentists or patients, who is cheap dentistry good for? It’s good for insurance companies. Insurance companies have the power to set the prices for dental procedures, and they use that power to make sure the compensation rates are low for dentists while keeping the perceived cost to patients low as well.
But, wait, if cheap dentistry ends up costing more over time, wouldn’t that mean that insurance companies pay more over the long run? Yes and no.
Insurance companies do end up paying more over the long run for cheap dentistry, but they don’t mind, because they are constantly taking in premiums from patients. As long as they are paying out less over time in benefits than they are taking in from premiums, they are making money. And when people are experiencing poor oral health, they feel like they need to keep their dental insurance, which makes them a captive market.
And insurance companies insulate themselves from the really bad effects of not taking proper care of your teeth. When teeth fall out and need to be replaced, insurance companies don’t cover dental implants, sticking patients with the bill or forcing them to settle for cheap dentures, which, again, lead to a lower quality of life.
Research has shown that, overall, people pay more for dentistry with insurance. Dental insurance is only a good deal for a relatively small number of people.
Quality Dentistry Is Better Than Cheap Dentistry
Now that we know what (and who) cheap dentistry is good for, it’s time to ask yourself: do I really want cheap dentistry?
For some people, that may be the right choice. But Houston dentist Dr. Scott Young long ago decided that he preferred quality dentistry that made his patients healthy and happy, dentistry that was rewarding for him and his staff to perform. And if quality dentistry appeals to you, please call (281) 367-5559 today for an appointment with Dr. Young, Purveyor of Fine Dentistry in The Woodlands.