While dental health issues like tooth decay and periodontal disease may deserve immediate treatment to offset their potentially harmful side effects, many Americans are scrambling to get to a dentist in order to address cosmetic concerns. While not life-threatening, a chipped tooth could lead to difficulty chewing, embarrassment and potentially impaired job prospects for interviewees.
Appearing on the CBS' The Early Show Saturday Edition, New York dentist Dr Nancy Rosen pointed to the growing popularity of cosmetic dentistry but also indicated the high expense of some procedures to those without dental insurance.
With enamel re-contouring, dentists can use a sandpaper disc to reduce the appearance of bumps on teeth and change the length or shape of an oddly formed tooth. Though non-invasive and requiring no anesthesia or follow-up care, the procedure can still cost patients between $50 and $100 per tooth.
Highly-touted new procedures, such as the tooth-straightening technique invisalign, can cost up to $8,000. The procedure uses a series of translucent molds which, like braces, slowly move teeth into a more comfortable or physically appealing arrangement.
In 2008, only 59 percent of patients had dental insurance that includes orthodontic benefits to defray the cost, according to the American Association of Orthodontists.
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