Q: I am upset that I have had to re-do my gum and bridge work several times in my life which has cost me a bundle. Doesn’t today’s technology make dental work last forever? How can I save money on dental fees?
A: One of my interests along with teeth and gums has always been a love for the comedic arts. I took the stage several times at various comedy clubs in Montreal, NYC and South Florida. All in the past now, but some of my awful work can be seen at www.mitchellallenjosephs.com, if the web site is still up, and of course YouTube. (I am apologizing in advance for the bit on “The Vasectomy at Home; A How-To Guide.” I bombed that night.
A few short years ago at a comedy workshop at the Improv Hard Rock Casino, a fellow attendee who was a financial planner told me that he tells all his clients to put away at least $100,000 in their nest egg for “out of pocket dental expense.” I then verified in my head how common it has been over my 30 years of practice that retired patients have had to spend this and more to keep their teeth and avoid dentures.
How can we avoid spending this $100K?
Although the human body cannot guarantee that dental work will last forever, there are things that can be done to make it last as long as possible.
7 Ways to Save $100,000 in Dental Fees
- See your DDS for an exam and cleaning at least three times per year. Periodontal disease is a silent killer; no symptoms to warn you.
- Do not refuse digital dental X-rays. You will miss serious, expensive problems!
- Have your DDS use the intra-oral camera, Diagnodent and trans-illumination devices to find problems that X-rays cannot. Early diagnosis leads to less expensive reconstruction.
- Make sure your hygienist is doing a pocket measurement annually with a computer software that compares your probing depths from year to year. Have her do annual fluoride treatment too.
- For your crown, veneer and bridge work, use digital no-goop impressions for greater accuracy in the fit of your work to prevent decay from rotting your teeth underneath.
- Avoid bridges that are too long of a span to replace missing teeth. ALWAYS use implants to replace the missing ones without having to drill down more good teeth.
- Don’t try to be a hero and insist that your DDS saves a bad tooth with a root canal, pin and crown. If the tooth does not have 5 millimeters of sound tooth structure, 360 degrees above the gum line, the work will fail in less than five years. Go for the implant which has a much better chance to last your lifetime.
Give us a call or drop us an email if you have any questions.
Dr. Mitchell Josephs practices Implant, Cosmetic and General Dentistry with an emphasis on implants, porcelain veneers, and complex crown and bridge treatment. He is on staff at JFK Medical Center and is a Faculty Advisory Board member at McGill University’s Faculty of Dentistry. He completed his residency at Manhattan’s Beth Israel Medical Center and Mt. Sinai Hospital.