Some time ago, I shared a post discussing my desire to save money on dental care. In it, I outlined the costs of a wisdom tooth removal that I was going to have done. I’m still waiting on that, but that’s another story for another day. Anyway, in giving details on the estimated costs to my readers, I got some varied responses on what people would do.
Well, there is one aspect of dental costs that I find hard to debate: the importance of dental insurance.
Now, I’ve spent some decent money in recent years on dental care, after a lifetime of teeth that held up really well. I suppose at some point, we get problems. That’s the thing that I suppose some folks might not think too much about, is that these problems can come up out of the blue without warning.
I was reminded of this in a conversation I had with somebody younger than I, with much less work experience. He shared a story about how he got into an accident a few years ago, and the aftermath of it. One of the problems he encountered was the loss of a couple of front teeth. Yikes!
That’s no fun as it is, as it required major dental work and replacement “fake” teeth to be put in. Beyond that, there’s also the cost factor. You see, this guy had no dental insurance at the time. He made that comment to me, while adding that he was still paying it off after a few years!
He basically stated that the dental bill was significant, and fit into his finances just like another monthly payment that was to be made. In other words, sort of like housing or a car. Not that we want any debt, but I suppose those types of debt seem to be more “mainstream”. But dental debt? Over several years?
It got me thinking how close people could be to losing money in different situations. As we’ve discussed here before when discussing math and money, it can be hard work to recover from money losses based on simple math. In the case of this dental care example, I had 3 quick takeaways:
- Keep dental insurance, and don’t just brush it off (lame pun intended) as unimportant because your teeth have always been good.
- Review your insurance coverage in general, as we need to take stock periodically to see where we may be underinsured
- Remember to protect against losses. This can take many forms, including health care, investing, etc. Bottom line is to not just think about upside and potential, but think about the floor. In other words, consider risks and downsides of situations and not just the upside. I’m all for positive thinking, but realism and caution has its place too!
My Questions for You
Have you or anybody you know gone without any type of health insurance for an extended period of time?
Have you ever been hit by big expenses that could have been prevented?
What do you think about the idea of taking dental care and insurance seriously?