The United States Surgeon General reported that over 108 million Americans were living without dental insurance in a study they conducted in 2003. This suggests that over half of all the dental procedures needed by Americans are currently being paid out of pocket.
The cost of dental insurance is having an even steeper effect on low income neighborhoods, where residents have no choice but to wait out their dental issues until they have the money.
In most cases they will not seek help until there is physical pain present and other serious problems. This has become all too familiar for Dr. Nancy Greenwalt, a dentist who runs a few Smile Healthy dental clinics in Illinois.
The waiting becomes a vicious circle of emergency rooms and, or urgent care center visits, where patients are then prescribed painkillers and antibiotics. However treatment is not available to them in these centers. Instead, staff encourage them to find a dentist, where they in turn end up back in the same centers for lack of money to pay for one. This was found to be the case in Frank Catalanotto’
In most cases once a person is able to afford a dental visit their teeth are too decayed for regular treatment. Dr. Geenwalt again stated that "A preventative check-up might cost a hundred dollars but once you find yourself in an emergency situation, it gets a lot more expensive than that -- and you may put your health at risk.”
Florida sees about 115,000 emergency room visits from dental issues each year. In most cases the taxpayer picks up the bill, which is approximately $88 million a year.
http://EdwardMoonDDS.com is the website of Mission Viejo dentist Edward Moon, DDS. His family owned dental practice offers various preventative and cosmetic treatments.