Understanding Your Treatment Plan

Author: Dr. David Dickerhoff, DDS, MAGD, FOCOI

It was reported in The Academy of General Dentistry Today  that “four out of ten Americans say that they are saddled with active debt from medical or dental bills according to a new survey. The poll, “published on Thursday, fount that 24% of those surveyed said that they had medical or dental bills that are past due or haven’t been paid, while 21% of respondents said that they have medical or dental bills that they are paying off over time directly to their provider. Becker’s Dental Review reports, “Of adults with health care debt, 49% say dental bills account for some of that amount.” According to Kaiser Health News, the investigation reveals the problem is “far more pervasive than previously reported’ since “much of the debt that patients accrue is hidden as credit card balances, loans from family, or payment plans to hospitals and other care providers.”

As I watch this week’s Consumer Price Index rise from a quarterly report of 8.3% to 8.8% and much talk of inflation and a looming recession, I cringe at the thought of decisions we must make as money gets tighter and tighter. The price of a barrel of gas will probably rise from its current $122.00 to something around $140.00 as long as tensions continue in the Ukraine. The price of gas here in North Carolina is better than other parts of the US but will hover around five dollars per gallon. Energy costs will affect the entire spectrum of goods and labor shortages compound the problem.

Which brings me to my message for today,  I urge you to have a great discussion with your care provider at the first opportunity to talk about the best way to attack your individual treatment plan. Many recommendations that we make to our patients are made to enhance quality of life or esthetics. Many other recommendations are made to correct disease, pathology or defective restorations. Learn what recommendations are made that need to be addressed immediately and what care can be deferred without a poor outcome eventually. Just like any maintenance program you ascribe to, the cost of replacement is always greater than the cost of maintenance.  Ignoring a dental problem only makes it worse and sometimes those decisions lead to a significant health problem or a decrease in quality of life.

We love talking with our patients at Spring Lake Dental Group.  Our tenet of “never treating a stranger” allows us to give you a professional opinion. Engage with us so as to achieve your best outcome in these trying times.