The Cost of Dental Care

Commercial-Care: The Dental Industry Goes Commercial

If “infotainment” (information + entertainment) is the subversive slogan of network and cable television news programs who champion sensationalism in their competition for higher ratings, perhaps we are in need of a similar word to describe the uncanny phenomenon occuring every time a sector of health care management takes commercialism to new extremes. After all, Americans have an impressive array of approximately 112 toothpastes at their disposal. You may think that dental care is only needed once or twice a year at your dentist’s office, but think again! Chances are, you are one of the countless Americans fueling our nation’s $4 billion oral-care products industry. In such a market, where should consumers invest their money, and what products are best left on the drug-store shelf?

Tooth Brush Technology: Only a Matter of Time

Healthy teeth begin with habitual brushing and flossing. So what tooth brush should you buy? Some people choose electric tooth brushes for the comfort and convenience of an automatic brusher. While some tooth brushes are competitively priced (the Oral-B Pulsar with disposable battery goes for $6), others can be down-right pricey (Oral-B’s micro-chip engineered Triumph sells at $139). Are automatic and electric powered tooth brushes preferable to manual brushes that rarely cost more than a few bucks? Dr. Peter Blumenthal, a dentist who practices in New York, recommends that his patients brush their teeth for two minutes twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Because the average American brushes for 20 seconds, Blumenthal says the real advantage of high-tech electric brushes is installed timers that force people to brush the full two minutes.

Toothpaste: Customized to Your Unique Enamel

Talk to your dental hygienist the next time you have a dental appointment. See if you have any special needs that could impact your toothpaste choice. Toothpaste options available in any grocery store are extensive to say the least. But options beneficial for one consumer may not be the best choice for another. For example, some whitening toothpastes can prove detrimental if the bleaching solvent is too harsh for your enamel.

Teeth-Whitening on the Rise

Teeth-whitening is presently one of the most lucrative facets of the oral-care market. There are essentially three tiers of health-care assistance your money can buy if you are interested in bleaching your teeth. The American Dental Association recommends against teeth-whitening without prior dental consultation. Having your teeth whitened in your dentist’s office can run anywhere from $300 to $1000, but the most dramatic results are obtained. This is because dentists have access to the strongest whiteners. Take-home dentist-dispensed whiteners are $300—$500. They take longer to apply but don’t require an office visitation. Over the counter whiteners can be purchased for as little as $20. These are the most cost effective options, but they achieve the least dramatic results because the intensity of the bleaching agents is significantly less than your dentist’s.

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