Archive for January 2014

What’s the Cost of Worrying?

We’ve all been there; a tooth is aching, but you don’t want to go in to the dentist. So instead, you take some pain killers and try to ignore the place in the back of your mind that keeps fretting about it. We’ve talked about how this is bad for your teeth before, but worry can affect other aspects of your life, too:

What Worrying Could Cost Your Body

Image via Flickr by spaceodissey

In addition to keeping you from peace of mind, worry elicits a physiological response from your body in the same way physical danger does. That means your stress hormones are high, your muscles can remain tense, and your digestive system can suffer. When you stay stressed over a long period of time—say, a few weeks or more—your body starts to feel the strain, and you can experience a lowered immune system, muscle aches, and even some more severe emotional ups and downs.

What Worrying Could Cost Your Budget

Not only does worrying over a toothache stress out your body, it can also make your appointment a lot more complicated when you do come in to the office (and you’ll have to eventually). Even something as easy to treat as a cavity can become something much, much worse if it isn’t taken care of soon. So don’t wait—the cost will only go up the longer you stay away! Better yet, if you come in for your semiannual preventative dentist appointment, we aim to keep everything on the preventative side so that you never have any other issues to worry about. Period.

A lot of things you worry about you can’t control. A toothache is not one of them. So set up a diagnostic appointment with our Boise dentists today!

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What Does Your Medical and Dental Expense Pie Chart Look Like?

We found this image online and were immediately intrigued! This chart breaks down spending on health for Americans way back in 1997. What do you think about the numbers? Do you think the percentages have shifted today?

Percent distribution of 1996 health expenses by type of service. Image via U.S. Department of Health

Dental Care at 7 Percent of Total Medical Expenses

Back in the 1990s, it looks like dental care came in at just under ten percent of national health expenses. The highest percentages—37 percent and 32 percent respectively—were held by inpatient care and ambulatory care. Of course, another study taken by the U.S. Department of Health in 2004 estimated that only 43 percent of Americans went to the dentist at all, so that may be affecting the numbers.

Are Your Dental Visits Preventative or Diagnostic?

This same 2004 study by the Department of Health also found that more people (89 percent of people, in fact!) made a diagnostic appointment (that is, to solve a problem or pain) than a preventative appointment (where a dentist checks to see that teeth are healthy and cleans them to keep them healthy longer). Hopefully in the last ten years patients have come to recognize more and more the importance of preventative care—then you never get to the diagnostic point!

What Do You Pay Out of Pocket?

While the biggest national medical expense was for inpatient care, most people paid less than two percent out of pocket, which gives inpatient care a fairly expensive price tag. Dental care however, was paid out of pocket about half the time (51 percent). And that was back in the 1990’s. With new health care laws requiring that children’s preventative dental care be included in coverage, Americans are looking at even more coverage for dental care in the coming years. That preventative care includes “teeth cleaning, X-rays and fillings, and medically necessary orthodontics,” according to the Washington Post.

How do you think your medical expenses pile up in a pie chart? Is your biggest expense inpatient care? Medication? Supplies? Let us know at your next preventative appointment!

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