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Cost biggest factor for delaying dental care
By Insure.com staff

The cost of dental care, rather than fear of pain, is the biggest reason consumers delay going to the dentist, according to a new Consumer Reports survey asking readers to describe their dental health and cosmetic treatments in the last five years.

Consumer Reports subscribers tend to have better dental insurance coverage than Americans on average, but 43 percent still cited cost as a barrier for getting treatment.

"Because cost is an issue, consumers need to be clear about the line between dental care that is necessary and the procedures they can live without. Many dentists are trained to push for procedures, both cosmetic and non-cosmetic, that will boost their bottom line," Nancy Metcalf, Consumer Reports senior program editor, said in a press release. "We were struck by the finding that nearly half of those who had had a cosmetic procedure had been prompted to do so by their dentist."

Among those who had a dental procedure for health reasons, 17 percent said they had delayed it. Even those with insurance reported delaying procedures; 23 percent did so because insurance wouldn't cover the procedure, and 24 percent delayed because they already had used up the maximum their insurance plan would cover for the year.

Dental insurance helps with costs but does not result in free or nearly free care. Of the 71 percent of respondents who had dental insurance, only 46 percent said it covered more than the half the cost of treatment.

The average cost Consumer Reports subscribers pay for dental care depends on whether or not they are insured. The costs are as follows:

Insured

  • Filling $141
  • Filling repair $149
  • Extraction $317
  • Crown $563
  • Root canal $593
  • Gum treatment $598
  • Bridge $1,479
  • Implant $2,825

Uninsured

  • Filling $288
  • Filling repair $265
  • Extraction $501
  • Crown $1,018
  • Root canal $1,201
  • Gum treatment $972
  • Bridge $2,698
  • Implant $3,938


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