Consumer Reports: Don't Fear The Dentist

Consumer Reports' survey on oral health shows most people gave their dental care a thumbs up-even when it came to a root canal!

More than 50,000 readers weighed in.

People who put off needed dental treatment were less satisfied with the outcome than those who bit the bullet.

Dr. Blanca Navarro, a dentist says, "Not going to your dental appointments may lead to more extensive and more costly dental treatment in the long run."

If the prospect of a painful procedure makes you cringe, there's good news: The survey found that serious pain is rare.

Nancy Metcalf of Consumer Reports says, "Only five percent of people who had a root canal said the procedure was severely painful, and only six percent of people who had a tooth pulled. So if you're worried about pain, that's really not a good reason to avoid the dentist."

But the cost of care was a top concern for some. The most frequent reason for delaying dental treatment was the "procedure was too expensive."

Others worried that "insurance wouldn't cover the procedure."

Metcalf says, "But our survey found that you can negotiate for a better price. Among our readers who tried it for costly procedures-like an implant or a full denture-more than half were successful at getting the price reduced."

It pays to do some research first. Websites like FairHealthConsumer.or and healthcarebluebook.com give the typical cost of procedures in your area. And there are ways to save.

Metcalf says, "Many people don't realize that community health centers often provide dental care for fees based on your ability to pay."

And it turns out, people who brush twice a day and floss every day were more likely to be happy with their smiles than those who don't.

If you're looking for a community health center that offers dental care, Consumer Reports says call your local health department to see what's in the area.

And be aware if you qualify for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program, your kids have some dental coverage, too.


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