Staying current with dental care cleanings and treatments is important – regardless of your age.
In today’s economy, however, some look at preventive dental care treatments as an extra cost that can be cut. Unfortunately, doing this tends to only lead to more painful situations – for both your teeth and your pocketbook.
First, we’ll explore the challenges of paying for dental care for each age group, including children, students, newlyweds, and seniors. Then, we’ll provide a solution that can help make dental care more affordable at any age.
Dental Care Budgeting Challenges for Each Age Group
Children from Kindergarten to 12th Grade
For families with limited budgets, or families just temporarily hurting from the tough economy, preventive visits to the dentist may get lost in the budget cuts.
This is unfortunate, because dental disease currently accounts for 51 million lost school hours per year, and it is preventable in most cases.
Many parents share the misconception that dental care can be postponed until their children’s baby teeth are replaced by adult teeth. But on the contrary, dental health issues from childhood often transfer to adult teeth.
A simple way to reduce the chances of lifetime dental health issues for your children is to take them to the dentist twice a year for preventive checkups and cleanings – in order to catch and fix problems in early stages.
While many students operate on a shoe-string budget during these years, it’s still important to keep dental care cleanings and treatments current.
Doing this, however, becomes trickier as access to family dental insurance plans waivers based on age and student status limitations.
In situations where students do not have dental insurance, it’s easy to see treatments and checkups as auxiliary costs that can be temporarily dropped. With an already limited budget and no assistance with dental care costs, a root canal or other major dental procedure can become a very painful and expensive experience for a college student.
For those who get married in their 20s or 30s, other major purchases may take away from the healthcare budget.
Buying a house, getting a new car or even making room in the budget for future additions to the family make it tempting to lengthen the time between dental checkups and cleanings.
However, just as with other age groups, postponing preventive checkups and cleanings can lead to much bigger problems down the road – especially when the dental care budget has already been reallocated for other expenses.
Many seniors find themselves on a fixed income and unfortunately, with age, the risk for dental problems increases.
A study conducted in New York showed that among seniors, 15% listed cost as the main barrier to accessing the dental care they need. For the other 85%, transportation was the leading barrier, which in many cases may tie indirectly to financial problems.
Seniors have a 300% greater chance to develop cavities than children and about 30% of all seniors lose their natural teeth. With statistics like these, it is easy to see why it’s so important for seniors to maintain regular dental checkups and cleanings.