Fitting Dentistry into One’s Life
Question: “Dr. Arnold, I have been neglecting my teeth for quite a while, and now I need $9000 worth of work. I don't really have the time or money for this right now. Do most offices offer payment plans, and can I complete the work a little bit at a time?”
Answer: Unfortunately, this is what often happens when you don't see the dentist on a regular basis. Letting small problems get worse often contributes to the need for more extensive dental treatment.
Fear, finances, and lack of time are probably the most common challenges to overcome for patients to undergo comprehensive dental care. These issues aren't always easy to overcome, but in most cases, all three can be dealt with effectively.
Obviously, everyone's situation is different, and you should follow the specific advice of your dentist regarding the timing of your care. In most cases, emergency treatment should be attended to first, and the periodontal (gums) health should be stable before proceeding with additional treatment.
When time is an issue, people will often try to complete as much treatment as possible at each appointment to decrease the number of appointments necessary to complete the work. Perhaps you can even do the most important treatment first and proceed with some of the other care as your schedule permits.
Expenses can often be broken into monthly payments at many offices. Some plans will allow $200 monthly payments for $9000 worth of dental work. If this doesn't work, then treatment can be sequenced in such a way to decrease the initial expense. Many people will do this by paying for one phase of care before initiating the next phase.
Sometimes the most significant obstacle to overcome is the fear of dental treatment. Fortunately, there are many relaxation techniques available to patients. One of these is oral conscious sedation, and it makes dental care more comfortable and less stressful.
Comprehensive dental care isn't possible unless you and your dental team can figure out a way to fit it into your life comfortably. Fortunately, with a little creative planning, you can probably work something out with your dentist that prioritizes your care while minimizing anxiety, making it manageable financially, and from the standpoint of time.
Dr. Jim Arnold is a practicing dentist in Valparaiso and Chesterton. Additionally, he serves on the Advisory Board for the Academy of Comprehensive Esthetics and is involved with many other local, state, national, and international dental organizations. Questions for Dr. Arnold can be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org or sent to: 1830 South 11th St., Chesterton, IN, 46304. More information on this and a variety of other dental topics can be found at: www.SmilesByArnold.com.