Why do so many Americans forego dental care? Furthermore, why do so many Americans who have dental insurance still wait until it’s an emergency to see the dentist? The answer is access to an affordable dentist.
A survey by the Oral Health Institute showed that the number one reason why adults do not visit the dentist is perceived cost. In fact, cost was the top reason regardless of income, age, or source of dental benefits among 59% of respondents. This might be because of perceived costs, dental care not being prioritized, or financial concerns, even with insurance. Unfortunately, these factors may lead to an unplanned emergency room visit.
From 1997 to 2007, there was a 4% annual increase in emergency room visits because of non-emergency dental conditions. That accounts for thousands of people unnecessarily using the ER for dental services. A later study found that there had been 1.1 million visits to the emergency room for dentistry in 2000. In 2010, dental emergency room visits nearly doubled to 2.11 million, and in 2012 that number increased again to 2.18 million.
An ADA study shows that patients receiving care in the ER would be better served in a dental office or clinic. Many people believe they can’t afford a dentist, but by going through the appropriate channels, they can actually reduce costs. It may be that patients with dental insurance are mistaken that an ER visit is less expensive than visiting a regular dentist, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Also, while emergency rooms can provide relief from dental caries (which account for 41.8% of dental-related ER visits), few hospitals have dental professionals who can provide comprehensive dental care. Most of the time, hospital staff can only provide patients with prescriptions for pain or antibiotics to treat infection, but this does not resolve the long-term underlying dental problems causing the condition.
Whether you’re uninsured or have limited dental insurance coverage, one of these affordable dental care options might be just what you need.
If you’re looking for affordable care, whether because your insurance doesn’t cover everything you need, or because you’re experiencing financial difficulties, consider Penn Dental Medicine for your care. We offer dental services at a rate that is much more affordable than what you’d find at the average dentist’s office. We also work with patients to create payment plans to help reduce the financial barrier to care. With University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine dentists, you are guaranteed quality care, every time.
Patients are sometimes surprised to learn that our student doctors are overseen by expert faculty throughout treatment. This system ensures that students continue to receive mentoring from the best in the field, while patients can rest assured that all care is delivered at the University of Pennsylvania level of excellence.
To learn more about how Penn Dental Medicine makes dental health accessible and affordable, download our free ebook, “The Affordability of Truly Comprehensive Dental Care”, and discover how quality care can make a huge difference for you and your family.
Whether you need root canal therapy, routine dental services, pediatric dentistry for your children, or restorative dentistry, we offer comprehensive care all under one roof. Make an appointment with us today by calling 215-898-8965!