Health

Dental Care Crisis in America (Video)

| by Michael Allen

While health care in the U.S. makes the news daily, millions of Americans are going without dental care.

Remote Area Medical (RAM) is an international aid group that was created to help people in third-world countries, but RAM makes numerous visits to the US to provide medical and dental care for Americans (video below).

According to PBS, more than 100 million Americans cannot afford dental care, many suffer in pain, some even die.

While poor children and low income adults are covered for some dental services by Medicaid, many dentists don't accept Medicaid.

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The Huffington Post reports that millions of Americans are skipping dental care because it has become unaffordable.

People who do have dental insurance still have to shell out a 50 percent co-pay (on average) for dental work such as crowns and bridges.

Typically, dental insurance only covers (in full) lower-priced procedures like dental cleanings.

The Huffington Post notes "most dental plans limit coverage to just $1,500 a year."

So Americans end up delaying their dental care, which can mean their dental problem can turn into a serious situation, even life-threatening.

As a result of this steep increase in the cost of dental care, dentists, on average, are now making more money than many doctors.

The American Dental Association stated in 2009 that the average income for a dentist in private practice was $192,680, but the average doctor in family medicine only makes $175,000, according to a 2012 report by Medscape, noted BeckersHospitalReview.com.

The free website Brighter.com helps people in Los Angeles check the prices of their local dentists whose prices for the same procedure can vary by a whopping 700 percent.

"I found that dental patients lack price transparency and negotiating leverage, and that impacts their willingness and ability to get the dental care they needed," Brighter.com creator Jake Winebaum told The Huffington Post.

Brighter.com is planning to expand to other cities.

Sources: BeckersHospitalReview.com, American Dental Association, PBS, The Huffington Post