Destiny11

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Why is dental care so expensive in the US? What can present and future dental professions do to reduce the cost of dental care for patients in the US? Why are insurance and equipment costs spiraling out of control and what can we do about it?
 

Maygyver

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Is this a secondary question?
 
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Destiny11

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LOL It is not a secondary question. I was talking to a dentist and he told me that when he first started practicing a hand piece cost around $100, and now it's close to $1000. A crown that comes out of a lab cost around $100, but the price being charged to the patient is often 5-10x that amount.

This topic came up because I am interested in the access to care issue and one way being proposed is to improve Medicare funding. However, if the high costs are because insurance companies and manufacturers are dictating and raising fees without good justifications, then it would be a never ending cycle.

On a side note, one of my friend was traveling in Europe and had a medical emergency. He went into the emergency room and the total cost was only ~$100.
 

Maygyver

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LOL It is not a secondary question. I was talking to a dentist and he told me that when he first started practicing a hand piece cost around $100, and now it's close to $1000. A crown that comes out of a lab cost around $100, but the price being charged to the patient is often 5-10x that amount.

This topic came up because I am interested in the access to care issue and one way being proposed is to improve Medicare funding. However, if the high costs are because insurance companies and manufacturers are dictating and raising fees without good justifications, then it would be a never ending cycle.

On a side note, one of my friend was traveling in Europe and had a medical emergency. He went into the emergency room and the total cost was only ~$100.

Costs in general have gone up. Ask your parents how much their first jobs paid. Also, a lot of European countries have socialized health care.
 

redchesus

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Oct 13, 2007
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On a side note, one of my friend was traveling in Europe and had a medical emergency. He went into the emergency room and the total cost was only ~$100.
Other than the single payer (or sometimes two-tiered) healthcare system they have over there, European govts usually subsidize professional education. So their students don't come out with a ridiculous amount of debt that takes like 20 years to pay off.

The U.S. runs on money though... which is either a good and bad thing, depending on the circumstance.
 

eringer

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[QUOTE/]On a side note, one of my friend was traveling in Europe and had a medical emergency. He went into the emergency room and the total cost was only ~$100.[/QUOTE]

That's because their socialized healthcare is funded by the ridiculous taxes in those countries.
 

jeffity

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Oct 23, 2009
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I have two crowns coming on Thursday costing about $1000 after insurance. What a total ripoff. In my case, I could have avoided this had I taken better care of my molars growing up and actually used that 100 yards of floss that costs $0.99.

I'm not suggesting better oral healthcare is a magic bullet because we all know there are MANY circumstances that require medical attention beyond this. But there sure is a lot of moaning and groaning at the bill when sometimes the damage is self-inflicted.
 

hopefullyadent

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Other than the single payer (or sometimes two-tiered) healthcare system they have over there, European govts usually subsidize professional education. So their students don't come out with a ridiculous amount of debt that takes like 20 years to pay off.

The U.S. runs on money though... which is either a good and bad thing, depending on the circumstance.

AMEN TO THIS POST...why in the biggest worldpower is education SO DAMN EXPENSIVE..people talk about corruption with oil companies...WHAT ABOUT CORRUPTION WITH THESE CROOKED EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS

so yea..if a dentist spends 9 -10 years of schooling i think he/she should be rewarded for doing a dental procedure
 

redchesus

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That's because their socialized healthcare is funded by the ridiculous taxes in those countries.
Our taxes aren't exactly low... that's why every politician is always clamoring for tax cuts. We just spend the money on other (arguably also ridiculous) things.
 

dl9006

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because 8+ years of education isn't cheap + cost of supplies/staff adds up.

after 8 years of school, i better get compensated well otherwise it would be financial suicide
 

ChubbyBaby

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A crown that comes out of a lab cost around $100, but the price being charged to the patient is often 5-10x that amount.
The lab has zero responsibility. They don't do the treatment plan, they don't inject anesthetic, they don't put a bur going 40000 rpm inside a patient's mouth, they don't interact with the patient. All they do is fabricate the crown; and even then, that's not necessarily the crown that will be cemented in. It's the dentist's years of clinical training which lets them determine if the crown is acceptable. If the crown fails in a few years, is it the lab that's at fault? No. It's the dentist for cementing it.

Destiny11, you are young and naive and stupid. I guarantee you will think differently in a few years.
 
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Destiny11

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The lab has zero responsibility. They don't do the treatment plan, they don't inject anesthetic, they don't put a bur going 40000 rpm inside a patient's mouth, they don't interact with the patient. All they do is fabricate the crown; and even then, that's not necessarily the crown that will be cemented in. It's the dentist's years of clinical training which lets them determine if the crown is acceptable. If the crown fails in a few years, is it the lab that's at fault? No. It's the dentist for cementing it.

Destiny11, you are young and naive and stupid. I guarantee you will think differently in a few years.
LOL I was simply stating a fact. There is no need to rip me for it. However, thank you for elaborating Mr. dentist.
 

ChubbyBaby

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That's why he posted the question to learn... No need to call unnecessary names, Mr. Einstein.
LOL I was simply stating a fact. There is no need to rip me for it. However, thank you for elaborating Mr. dentist.
haha... sorry guys.. just joshing.

But seriously, to perform even the simplest of fillings, think about how much money you have invested and how much liability you take to do that. It's a lot, and I think dentists are currently being compensated properly for this.
 
Aug 14, 2009
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I lived in South Korea for a number of years. This is what I know of that system.

1) Future dentists enter dental school directly after high school. The government pays for most of the schooling (if not all I am not sure). The dentist will then work in a hospital, state clinic etc, for a time before they can work freely.

2)Dental costs are covered by the national health plan, which is offered on a sliding scale. (I paid about 30/month for dental/medical).

3) Taxes are extremely low, less than 5%. (yes that low.) It varies by province, but my pay was taxed at 3.3%.

4) Going to the dentist is cheap, and fast, and the level of care is quite good. I had one filling done for less than 7USD. The whole procedure was fast and very little waiting, (or dentists trying to sell me teeth whitening to bring in some revenue). Wisdom teeth extractions about 10/tooth (or less).

5) Korean people often fly back to Korea to have more costly dental procedures done, because it is cheaper to fly to Asia to have it done than to remain in the states to do it.

So my thoughts, are

1) US trained dentists are overtrained. Seriously, what is the importance of the undergrad degree? I am not saying it is pointless, but atleast half, if not more of the classes taken as an undergrad don't offer anything to the practicing dentist. Also in many other countries a dentist is not a doctoral degree (UK, Australia, New Zealand). So if potential dentists could forgo the extra costs for superflous education (in an education system that is out of control) perhaps that would reduce the high costs of treatment a bit.
 

yappy

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Jul 11, 2008
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I disagree with your conclusion on so many different levels. First would be the importance of a broad, non-specific, liberal education. I don't think it would be a step in the right direction to train dentists right out of HS because this leads to a very monochromatic education, diminishing the profession and the education of the individual. Questioning the importance of an UG degree is like the Jr. High student learning trigonometry:

"Ugh... when am I EVER going to use this!"

Sometimes it's good to be educated for the sake of being educated. (even for those aspiring to hold a doctorate degree in dental medicine).

Secondly - SK educational system is very rigid - not allowing late bloomers to thrive academically. Your fate is sealed in many ways by the time you've graduated HS or earlier. This system leads to people being in positions based on a small snapshot & passing up what might be real talent for people who did well in HS curriculum, but may grow stagnant later on.

Third – Since when does length of education dictate the price for a service? I agree it may strangle the supply of dentists a little bit but I don't see this changing that much if we choose to shorten the education. Also it wouldn't be right for our government to dictate to dentists what they should or shouldn't charge anymore than they already do.

Last - have you seen people's teeth in SK! lol... a joke but ... not really.

I lived in South Korea...
So my thoughts, are

1) US trained dentists are overtrained. Seriously, what is the importance of the undergrad degree? I am not saying it is pointless, but atleast half, if not more of the classes taken as an undergrad don't offer anything to the practicing dentist. Also in many other countries a dentist is not a doctoral degree (UK, Australia, New Zealand). So if potential dentists could forgo the extra costs for superflous education (in an education system that is out of control) perhaps that would reduce the high costs of treatment a bit.
 
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coolslugs

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1) US trained dentists are overtrained. Seriously, what is the importance of the undergrad degree? I am not saying it is pointless, but atleast half, if not more of the classes taken as an undergrad don't offer anything to the practicing dentist. Also in many other countries a dentist is not a doctoral degree (UK, Australia, New Zealand). So if potential dentists could forgo the extra costs for superflous education (in an education system that is out of control) perhaps that would reduce the high costs of treatment a bit.
Overtrained...perhaps, but dentistry in the US is also some of the best and most prestigious in the world. The rigorous dental curriculum requires its applicants to be prepared academically...which is at least 3yrs of pre-reqs. Obtaining an undergraduate degree also improves a person's life experiences, maturity, and time to develop his or her talents as well. I think someone coming straight out of high school would be lacking in one or the other, if not both.
 

redchesus

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At least we HAVE dental care, unlike many places around the world. :cool:
Yeah, compared to the Third World... which, I mean, are we really comparing ourselves to underdeveloped nations? Compared to other developed countries (or even some developing countries) though, it is pretty expensive.
 

yappy

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How much more expensive is it? Once you factor in tax money used to pay for it + the "co-pay" is it alot less than the amount paid in the US?
 
Aug 14, 2009
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Last - have you seen people’s teeth in SK! lol... a joke but ... not really. [/QUOTE]

Umm, yes I have. I lived there for over three years, living, working, knowing and interacting with Korean people everyday. Kids in kindergarten have toothbrushes at school. They all line up after they finish eating lunch and brush their teeth. If you look at the older generation their teeth may be bad, considering there would not have been access to dentists for the majority of the elderly's lifespan. (the modernization of south korea is one of the fastest, if not the fastest of any nation). Most people have teeth that you would look twice at.

I don't disagree that starting professional school right out of high school has a bunch of problems (most of which were named above). But assuming that someone has matured, gained perspective, become open minded, or however you would like to state it after earning a degree is a far cry from the truth. As a post bac student, I see these kids that are graduating, applying to dental/medical school/etc. and they don't appear wise, open-minded, having a breadth of experiences. I guess my point is that, college doesn't teach you a number of valuable life skills that for understanding, compassion, etc.
 

AmpedUp

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because materials/equipment for procedures are insanely expensive...