i realize that becoming a dentist or even a dental hygienist is not easy, but the charges for dental services strike me as being excessive and more than many people can afford. Medicare has no dental coverage, so when Thom or other progressives talk about extending Medicare as an option for everyone, they should point out that the program does not cover dentistry, except for some Medicare Advantage plans which are alternatives available in some areas from private insurance companies. (It also does not cover regular eye exams or glasses or contacts, unless you have eye surgery.) A local dentist once wrote a letter to the editor in which he complained about dental insurance being inadequate and obsolete, not having kept up with the costs of most contemporary dental procedures and treatments.
I went to one dentist who has a computerized machine which makes crowns in one appointment. The hygienist pulled down a small video screen and showed me a brief video on office-made crowns. The dentist said that I had several questionable fillings which, she claimed, might eventually have to be replaced with expensive crowns. I asked for a copy of my X-rays and went to another dentist, who said that in his opinion, I didn't need any crowns. He said that if I needed any fillings replaced, I could have regular fillings put in. He said that some dentists almost seem to specialize in installing crowns as the main part of their practice. That is just what they do, he said. Even though he didn't think I needed a crown, he said that something about the idea of getting a crowns was justified. I wasn 't quite sure if he was talking in generalities, or was talking about my specific situation.
I went back to the first dentist for some routine appointments and even had some convential plastic fillings done at her office by her staff. But when the issue of crowns came up again, I failed to make another appointment for a regular cleaning. The dentist's office sent me two postcards reminding me to call and make an appointment, and then actually called me at home. I thought this only further demonstrated the aggressive marketing that this particular office uses to convince patients to have services.
For those who don't know, crowns are quite expensive, probably over $1000 per tooth at most offices. I don't want to lose my teeth, but I don't want some expensive prothesis that I may be able to do without. A woman I spoke to at my dental insurance company said that a study was recently done of conventional amalgam fillings which concluded that they pose no health risk.
I might mention that Thom has a recorded commercial for a dentist in the local market of my progressive radio station, and this dentist advertises that she uses mercury-free fillings. These I'm sure are perfectly fine fillings, but the older silver amalgam type, according to the research study, are safe. I have had them for years and have no apparent side effects, and millions of people have them.
I found a new dentist who is nearby and who is in-network, so I am going to try him to see what he says about the condition of of my teeth.
One of the news magazine shows on T.V., a number of years ago, sent a correspondent to several different dentists, and they gave him different diagnoses of how many cavities he had and fillings that he needed. Prior to these exams, he was examined by a dentist who was a faculty member at a dental school, and the other dentists came up with more problems in need of restorations than did the professor, and their opinions were not all identical. It makes you wonder if dental schools are doing all that is necessary to instill professional ethics into their graduates, and if dentists are adequately regulated by the state licensing boards. Greed seems to be something of an issue.