Imagine waking up in the middle of the night to a sudden, intense, pulsating pain from the lower right side of your mouth. You make an attempt to bite down but you barely have any movement because your body is too focused on the pain. You quickly realize that toothache that has been coming and going is finally establishing a permanent presence. It's exactly 1:34am- dental clinics are closed; the only place available for help is the local hospital's emergency room. It's only a toothache right? The pain is too intense to go back to sleep so you decide to go to the ER. Once there, after waiting for a few hours you finally consult with a doctor and the diagnosis is that you have a decayed tooth; Treatment Plan- Tooth Extraction. You become anxious about the idea of now having an unappealing smile but agree quickly to the extraction because you want the pain and swelling to just go away. Four and half-hours later the tooth is now gone but you are still in pain, and also stuck having to pay $2500 in hospital fees.
Sounds familiar? Unfortunately this has been an increasing trend in the past decade across the nation. As the economy has been declining so has our emphasis on the importance of dental care. An increase in patients that have not been seeking regular dental care until a serious emergency occurs has been noted in hospital emergency rooms across the country. Living in the world of consumerism we tend to categorize items/services by wants and needs. It's surprising, however, to learn that especially in recent years, more and more patients are grouping dental care as a "want" rather then an important "need".
A significant number of patients are now waiting until the problem is so advanced that their only option is tooth removal. According to a Newsday article it states that in New York, emergency room visits and surgery center treatment for tooth decay related problems cost more that $31 million; a percent increase from 2004. Meanwhile, the state of Florida spent more than $88 million in emergency dental care services. These facts show that more and more individuals are simply putting off basic dental care services and relying on emergency care when most of the problems could be treated or avoided entirely with just routine care and maintenance at the dental office. An analyst stated "...It's the wrong service, in the wrong setting, at the wrong time."
One of the main reasons this trend is on the rise is that many people either don't have the dental coverage they once had, making the cost of dental care an increased burden, or they simply must use the money previously set aside for dental care for other necessary bills. Taking all of this into account, we at Great Neck & Mid-Island Dental Associates have attempted to make it easier to afford dental care. We offer many payment programs so patients can seek the proper dental care that is needed without unduly staining their budget. The last place anyone wants to end up with a toothache is a hospital emergency room so before that happens please take the time to have a checkup and find out if there are any conditions or problem that require immediate treatment. Prompt identification is the simplest and most affordable way to ultimately have the best treatment possible.