Poor Teeth In A Rich World
October 24, 2014 1:10 PM   Subscribe

 
I am self-employed in Canada and do not have dental insurance. While there are tax-shelter schemes that would allow me to spend money on dental care for my family, it is actually cheaper to go back to Japan once a year to get dental work (apart from cleaning) done.

Even without insurance in Japan, it costs me 10% of what it would cost in Canada to get similar work done. I can spend the difference on a plane ticket.

On top of that, dentists in Canada are pretty much focused on being entrepreneurial, and there is always some sort of upsell.

I love my Japanese dentist and cannot wait to see him again.

So cheap!
posted by Nevin at 1:23 PM on October 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


Teeth are part of the body. Dental care should not be separate from health care. There is no reason to keep it that way, except rent-seeking.

Teeth are part of your body. Caring for teeth is medical care.

I really hate this bullshit system we have set up.
posted by emjaybee at 1:28 PM on October 24, 2014 [51 favorites]


I love that Shepherd's new job includes partial dental insurance. (Plus optometry!)

Before I moved to Canada, I hadn't been to the dentist in years. Mostly because once I was no longer under my parents' insurance, I did not have the kind of job that provided dental insurance, nor was I making the kind of money to pay for it independently. I was very very very lucky that nothing dire happened to my teeth in that time. Of course, when I met my new Quebec dentist, I did have two cavities and I needed to have my wisdom teeth removed.
posted by Kitteh at 1:41 PM on October 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm so glad someone wrote this. Teeth in the south are a sign of social class.
posted by EinAtlanta at 1:48 PM on October 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


Today, for me and millions of people in the US living on one side of a historic income gap, the defining double consciousness is to be educated and poor.

Despite a near 4.0 bachelor's degree, I was almost 30 before I learned that you needed to floss every day. Why didn't I know that? Why didn't my parents teach me that? Why didn't the dentists--who didn't give me the choice between amalgam or composite fillings, assuming because of my method of payment that I would want amalgam fillings--teach me that? Why did it take me so long to learn something that is so basic to many people? It's just one of a whole host of life skills that I have struggled to learn as I attempted to move up a class. Which, of course, you can't really ever do.
posted by epanalepsis at 1:51 PM on October 24, 2014 [10 favorites]


One of the most depressing signs on the bus here is an ad that reads, "Extract any tooth for $99." Because dental care is an afterthought for so many people and the only relief they have from constant pain is this bargain removal. It's barbaric.

I myself had a crippling phobia for years and never went in. So I'll be going in 3x a year for the rest of my life from now on now that I've overcome it. And I count myself lucky.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 1:55 PM on October 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


Dental insurance exists out there sort of as the Final Boss to battle in the affordable healthcare war. Why dental became detached from general health insurance is a mystery to me. Adding it to your current health insurance can often double your premium.

I keep hoping dental will get rolled into the required ACA coverage, but I doubt it will happen.

And, yes, I admit that I do not go to the dentist on anything resembling a regular schedule, exclusively because I don't have dental coverage, nor can I afford it. Nor can I afford to send CareCredit monthly payments.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:19 PM on October 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


I have dental coverage. It's shitty dental coverage, and the place I go always seems to put the wrong code on the insurance submission. Or maybe the insurance company keeps moving the goalposts. At any rate, for anything beyond routine cleaning, it's always an argument. Then the coverage runs out, because I've reached $1200. It's amazing how little dental work that buys in the US.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:30 PM on October 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


One of the secrets my parents guarded most fiercely in my childhood is that my father wears dentures. He's had straight white teeth my entire life plus he went to the dentist occasionally (denture check-ups, I would later learn), so I had never noticed. But the dentist pulled his teeth years and years ago when he was younger than I am now.

The moment I learned that my dad wore dentures like the old people on TV--combined with the moment when I realized that not every mom goes to the dentist constantly for crowns and root canals--had a profound impact on my life. I have never skipped a trip to the dentist. My brother has had a rougher road and is both afraid of dentists and a community-college dropout who couldn't afford dentistry for years. We're so lucky in that both of us still have our teeth.

There have been times when my teeth made the difference in a job interview or introduction. I can only imagine what that struggle is like for those who can't afford it and, like my family, are prone to bad teeth.
posted by librarylis at 2:38 PM on October 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


I live in Canada and pay for dental insurance myself. It's very expensive and covers only the basics, but my teeth are so bad that I can't afford not to have insurance. For major surgeries like root canals and dental crowns, I fly to Taiwan (where dental coverage is part of the universal health insurance. I'm not a resident, so I have to pay the full costs out of pocket, but it's still much cheaper compared to having surgeries in Canada).

I wish the OP elaborated a little further about bad teeth affecting job search. It rings true to me, based on my own experiences. I just can't afford braces.
posted by fatehunter at 2:42 PM on October 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


As someone who can't afford dental work, nor a ticket to another country to get dental work done (seriously, really? You can afford to fly to Asia to look after your teeth? ) I'm learning to not smile with visible tooth exposure anywhere but in the presence of people who I know won't judge my crooked and non-white teeth. I notice how nice other people's teeth are, though, and how often those nice teeth go along with nice clothes, nice cars, and nice lives. I brush too often (my dentist told me when I last visited her 3 years ago ) and I floss, but cavities happen, crowding happens, and discolouration happens, whether or not you engage in dental hygiene. I'm missing two teeth, thankfully they're toward the back, but if I grin in a big way or open my mouth too wide, you can definitely see them. I know people judge this, too but even with my dental plan I can't afford to do anything about it. I can't even utilize my plan because despite it covering 70% of the costs to a maximum of 1200 a year, I don't have the money to pay the difference.
posted by alltomorrowsparties at 3:03 PM on October 24, 2014 [16 favorites]


Teeth are absolutely the most visible class signifier in the US currently. You can switch clothes or your car, but making poor teeth look like you've had a lifetime of orthodontia and great dental care isn't an easy process, or even possible sometimes.

Giving a kid the gift of full extractions and dentures as a high school graduation present used to be fairly common and still happens sometimes -- if your teeth are that bad at 18, dentures may be the least bad option available.
posted by Dip Flash at 3:17 PM on October 24, 2014 [8 favorites]


Dental insurance is expensive and impractical because Intelligent Design (ID) is a fraud. If it was by design, it wasn't very intelligent, the designer must have been an idiot. Compare how often you have to fix teeth and almost any other body part. Teeth are very badly designed and constructed. They need an insane amount of maintenance to work even semi-ok. Look at the constant care you have to take. How often do you need to brush or floss your eyes after use (after reading the comment sections of newspapers excepted)? It's the result of the sloppiest of sloppy - lazy evolution along the lines of least resistance. Human beings have not finished evolving, and the weak points, ones that need much more work, are the result of the environment changing more rapidly than some body parts can accommodate, the spine (since we started walking upright), wrist (RS injuries), teeth (diet) and so on for other parts that just have not managed to adapt quickly enough. Teeth are under-designed, badly specced and poorly executed. If anyone ever starts on the religion/atheism useless arguments, just point at your teeth, and you win the argument immediately without having to say anything - there is no god (well, OK, or s/he's a monster).

Insurance economics work the less people use it. But dental work is pretty much unavoidable. You should go to the dentist for a professional cleaning no less than 2 times a year, and preferably 4 - it's like changing oil in your beater, except more expensive. There is almost always something that needs to be done. It costs money. The economics of dental insurance don't work. Even in countries that have "socialized medicine" or nearly-socialized, dental care is often excluded and you're thrown into the free-for-all of private practice or interminable lines of charity care.

Even so, dental care in the U.S. is absurdly costly. I have a few implants and attend the services at the temple of Dentistry religiously - I have, and this is absolutely not an exaggeration, easily, spent over $60K on my teeth in the last 20 years or so. It's insane.
posted by VikingSword at 3:29 PM on October 24, 2014 [16 favorites]


Dental care should not be separate from health care.

I agree completely, but my understanding (of the reason why dentistry isn't included in US health insurance) is that a lot of the dentist's work can be considered cosmetic, which is therefore unnecessary.
posted by Rash at 3:32 PM on October 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


Then we separate the cosmetic from the necessary- but we have to acknowledge that having working teeth is necessary and many treatments, like dentures, lower life expectancy, and are not really a viable option for optimal health. Hell, I bet if dentistry were part of preventative healthcare, we'd see an emphasis on tooth care as an important part of having a healthy diet, especially in old age.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 3:41 PM on October 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


Yeah, my partner is Canadian (although I'm not) and last year, we discovered they had a cavity right before a planned trip to visit me in Texas. It was about half the cost to pay out of pocket here as it would have been in Toronto, and even then it was still a pretty steep financial burden on both of us to get it fixed, since both of us are pretty broke. But as they told me, the only treatment covered by the health service would have been to pull the tooth. Since it was the right front tooth, pulling it would have really hurt my partner's ability to get a job--as I read the article, I was reflecting on just how lucky it was to have discovered the cavity in time to get it fixed somewhere that they could actually afford to get it done. It turned out it wasn't even anything either of us could control--it was a cavity that had been caused by a genetic abnormality in their teeth. (Apparently, we can expect an identical cavity in the other tooth sometime in the next few years. Goody.)
posted by sciatrix at 4:11 PM on October 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


I've been financially screwed a bunch of times because I went in for crowns that the dentist thought were necessary but the insurance company didn't.
posted by Renoroc at 4:23 PM on October 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


There's definitely some catching up needed. At one time, filling or pulling were as good as it got, but dentistry has evolved while attitudes about interventions other than a string tied to the doorknob are stuck in the 1950s.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 4:39 PM on October 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


I agree completely, but my understanding (of the reason why dentistry isn't included in US health insurance) is that a lot of the dentist's work can be considered cosmetic, which is therefore unnecessary.

I'm curious how "cosmetic" is being defined here. I'm not a dentist, I'm just someone who got her first orthodontic appliance at age 9 and who's spent a lot of time dealing with dentists and orthodontists. It's my impression that a lot of the things that get called "cosmetic" aren't, really — straightening teeth, for example, doesn't just make them look nicer, it affects how well one can bite and chew and how easy or difficult it is to brush and floss. I mean, tooth bleaching is the only purely cosmetic procedure that comes to mind, and even then if you consider how profound an effect a person's teeth have on their appearance and how strongly society judges people for it… maybe we ought to pay for the damn "cosmetic" procedures too.
posted by Lexica at 4:50 PM on October 24, 2014 [10 favorites]


We weren't intelligently designed to last more than 30 years. Technology is the true anti-dentite.

Maybe us Mefites could try something. How about we designate one Mefite per congressional district to run on a simple plank of enacting universal health care. If it's such an overwhelmingly popular policy, we should be able to take over the house in 2016. Either way, I'm sure it will fail but it will succeed in making Universal Health care the number one talked about policy for the 2016 election and that should be enough to get Elizabeth Warren elected.
posted by any major dude at 5:07 PM on October 24, 2014 [9 favorites]


This article is so timely. I have recently spent too much on a second root canal and fourth crown. I'm doing better than my Granny who lost most of her teeth by the time she was in her 30s.

I didn't realize until recently that bad teeth were a sign of poverty. We only saw the dentist once a year growing up, and then it was usually followed by another visit for a cavity. I had a real fear not only of the dentist but also a real fear caused by so many cavities. I think it was $125 to pull a tooth, or maybe that's what two fillings cost, but there's not a lot of wiggle room anyway when the provincial minimum wage was $4.50.

Some people ate a truckload of candy and never had a cavity, but I think mine are just genetically bad, maybe with a bad pH in my mouth too. I didn't see a dentist for much of my early twenties because I was afraid of the dentist and had no benefits through work at the time. Sugar was definitely a culprit.

Certainly I had enough messages about good dental hygiene, but I used the same toothbrush for years at a time and dental floss was not something my family used.

Now I see an expensive dentist I am not afraid of and own a $70 electric toothbrush with expensive heads that get changed regularly. Until recently I went many years without needing anything. I don't have answers for myself but I can't help but wonder how much money I would have saved as an adult if my parents could have afforded better dental care and better food as a child. Four fillings, four crowns and two root canals buys a lot of nice vacations...at least for my dentist :)
posted by Calzephyr at 6:06 PM on October 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


I have so many dental stories... like the time I was having a tough extraction while awake and numbed up and Kylie Minogue came on the radio singing "Can't get you outta my head" while the dentist tugged away at my jaw. Or the time I got 6 crowns for $800 in Mexico under some truly horrific conditions.

No one here has mentioned that most dental insurance is only a relatively small pool of money -- mine's $1500 per year -- and most dentists, if your teeth are bad and you'll let them, will use up as much of that they can within a handful of visits.
posted by Catblack at 6:26 PM on October 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


I'm lucky, since my parents were willing to beggar themselves for our teeth. They dug themselves deep into debt to pay for my years and years of braces, impacted wisdom teeth, twice a month cleanings.

Bad teeth ran in our family. My teeth, like my father's, were severely crooked and cavity prone. My parents were convinced (and it was probably true) that my father's teeth were a major factor in not being able to get a better job. So my being able to have good teeth was a priority to them on the same order as my being able to go to college. This was smart and generous and kind and I wish I'd understood it while they were alive. They were determined I would be the first one on the family to make it to college, and that I would be able to pass once I got there. And teeth really are a class signifier that people are unwilling to look past.
posted by frumiousb at 6:36 PM on October 24, 2014 [7 favorites]


My boyfriend dealt with a tooth that needed a root canal for several months earlier this year. It's funny, because through the ACA he'd just gotten health insurance for the first time in his adult life, but was excruciating tooth pain covered under that? Nope. Could you go to the emergency room and then deal with the bills later? Nope. He was worried that he was getting another ulcer from all of the pain meds he was taking to get through the day with this tooth. (At least that would have been covered under health insurance.)

(In the end he was lucky enough to get an appointment at a dental school. He missed three days of work (and pay) getting it, though. And there are plenty of folks who wouldn't have been able to afford even the $300 he paid in the end.)
posted by geegollygosh at 9:27 PM on October 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Damn, this entire thread is really making me so angry and disappointed that I was so adamantly against getting braces and going to the dentist as a kid... And that my parents, who grew up middle class and got braces and lots of dental work in their teens just... Let me. They just got tired of fighting me and tired of my whining.

I have totally crooked fucked up looking teeth as an adult. They're perfectly healthy, and on every trip to the dentist they always tell me so. But I look like some family guy cartoon exaggeration of a British guy stereotype when I open my mouth. Teeth that stick out too far, teeth that didn't come out far enough, really crooked crowded teeth at weird angles, all of it.

I never even really thought of it as something that would hamper my up search or any of that, even though people relentlessly made fun of me in middle and high school. I was always like "whatever. I'll grow up and those assholes won't matter".

And now I'm contemplating what's worse. Having braces in my mid 20s, or just have really crooked teeth. Crap.
posted by emptythought at 11:41 PM on October 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


seriously, really? You can afford to fly to Asia to look after your teeth?

Not really. My family live in Taiwan. They generously pay for my plane tickets so I can visit them every 2-3 years. I schedule these visits to maximize the amount of dental work I get done there, among other cost-saving things... but dental is the big item by far.

During my last visit, I got two dental crowns for a price almost $1,500 CDN lower than the quotes my Canadian dentist had given me. My return plane ticket cost under $1,100. Even if my family hadn't paid for the ticket, the trip still would have been a net positive.

... although, to be real, I probably would have just stayed home and not gotten the crowns then. Dental crowns are not strictly "necessary" in some cases; they just protect you "dead" teeth after root canals. One can forgo the crowns and take the risk of breaking and losing those teeth. Which I did for years.
posted by fatehunter at 12:03 AM on October 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


I stopped going to the dentist in my late 20's. I didn't have dental insurance and didn't want to spend the money. My teeth were straight, never had dental problems, and I brushed and flossed regularly, so I let it go.

I'm in my late 40's now. Recently a piece of my rear lower left molar broke off while brushing my teeth. And an odd thing about it is that earlier that day I been discussing dental care with someone and I told them that I had been lucky so far. It was like instant karma or something. The pain was incredible. I didn't know a tooth could cause that much pain. I snapped my left arm in two once, lots of pain (especially when the orthopedic surgeon reset my arm, I was not put under) and it lasted quite awhile. But the intensity of the tooth pain beat that snapped arm tenfold. So off to a dentist.

Result: Tooth could not be saved and there was a slight infection. Tooth extraction: $219. Pain meds and antibiotics: $30. The dentist also told me he noticed a hole in the tooth next to the bad one. You had better come in and lets us look at each tooth individually. Teeth cleaning, X-rays, and exam: $250. Result: Six cavities. Two back left and four back right. I was told I was lucky since it had been so long since I had been to the dentist. I was also told that flossing regularly had probably saved me from worse damage. Two cavities filled: $340. Both cavities were deep and was told that the fillings might last a lifetime or not. If not, they would cap them. I have the four cavities to be filled next week. Estimated cost is $550.

I think I am getting good care and I am grateful for it, but oh my, how hard it is to pull out my wallet at the window after an appointment. That's a lot of cash to turn over in a short period of time.

By the way, that's what it's costing me in Ohio. And also, if you can possibly afford it, go to the dentist at least once a year. I wish I had. Although I do know that I have had it easy compared to some other people's dental problems.
posted by cwest at 5:18 AM on October 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


From the article:
But I still think of the boy who handed me a dessert cup from his lunch box every day when a mix-up in the free-lunch programme left me without a meal card for months.

That line really got me. It's a good article. Truthful, unadorned, and straightforward. Thanks for posting.
posted by cwest at 5:59 AM on October 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


Having just read this, I'm off to floss and brush.
posted by ocherdraco at 9:19 AM on October 25, 2014 [3 favorites]


Nevin: On top of that, dentists in Canada are pretty much focused on being entrepreneurial, and there is always some sort of upsell.

One of my coworkers just married a dentist (they're in their mid thirties). She said she was completely freaked out by how wealthy he and his friends are.

Teeth are part of your body. Caring for teeth is medical care.

This is exactly right.
posted by sneebler at 9:31 AM on October 25, 2014 [3 favorites]


But, but, we've got to have insurance for chiropractic care!
posted by Trochanter at 10:22 AM on October 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


(seriously, really? You can afford to fly to Asia to look after your teeth? )

Well it's not that Japan is "Asia dental tourism", it's just that if I am going to spend money on dental work on the four members of my family (including myself) I might as well go home to Japan where I live part of the year anyway. I suppose I am privileged to be able to go there, but on the other hand I had to borrow money twenty years ago to go there originally, and then I put a ton of effort into ensuring I established strong ties there.

As an aside, when I did work in Canada after graduating from university, there were few jobs (if any) in Victoria, so my post-grad work experience in this town resembled something out of George Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London.

A lot of the cookstaff I worked with had terrible teeth.

Thankfully I made the decision to get out. Nowadays of course Victoria has the lowest unemployment rate in Canada.
posted by Nevin at 10:29 AM on October 25, 2014 [4 favorites]


I've had two extended periods of not taking care of my teeth, due to periods of unemployment or under-employment. I was lucky enough to get dental insurance again after each period before things got so bad that I needed root canals, but they probably cost me and the insurance company many thousands in fillings and crowns. And if I was a little less lucky, I'd have a gaping hole where my front teeth were, and I can bet there would be jobs I didn't get because of it.
posted by tavella at 1:08 PM on October 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


Let me note that many "middle class" families who have children with special needs may put these needs above cosmetic dentistry. I have a severe hearing loss and wear hearing aids. The hearing aids were not optional. Since I'm oral and was mainstreamed, a private school with small classes was not optional. Braces and cosmetic overlays (were dentists even doing overlays in the 1970s?) were optional.

I also inherited Asian teeth from that half of the family; my sisters inherited nice European American teeth from the other side. (I'm stating stereotypical cultural impressions here.)

I suppose we could have gone with ASL and Deaf schools and I could have had perfect looking teeth instead of hearing aids. (Note: This is a personal account, not a debate on oral/Deaf. Please do not derail!)
posted by bad grammar at 2:36 PM on October 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


I was also a volatile child who came to hate doctors, for obvious reasons (I also had allergies and a course of immunotherapy shots). The orthodontist would have been just one more doctor that my mom had to drag me to.

Now imagine children with autism, who might melt down completely and refuse to cooperate with the dentist, and can't articulate why.
posted by bad grammar at 2:39 PM on October 25, 2014 [3 favorites]


Just watching the local news right now, in a state where 18% of adults are missing six or more teeth due to gum disease, tooth decay, or infection. The news is showing a free medical/dental clinic being offered by a groups of hospitals at a civic auditorium, and of course lines are unbelievable. The reporter is talking about how people with tooth pain are having their decayed teeth "yanked" and emerging with "no more pain." Naturally the issue of what happens to these folks with a mouth full of gaps where teeth once were isn't addressed.
posted by blucevalo at 3:14 PM on October 25, 2014 [5 favorites]


My dad had dentures from the time he was young. The Air Force decided yanking his teeth was easier than fixing them. Of course, it was the 50s, so they had fewer options. My mom had terrible teeth too, and was constantly getting them fixed. And they both grew up without fluoridated water.

I often wonder if the anti-fluoride thing is because it helps poor people. It doesn't fix all ills, but there was a hell of a lot of difference in my parents' teeth and their kids, even given that we ate more sugar growing up.
posted by emjaybee at 8:39 PM on October 25, 2014


Reading down the thread, yeah, the problem with dental "insurance", as VikingSword explains, is that nearly everyone needs professional dental care from childhood on. What're the bastards gonna do except only cover those procedures which reduce the cost of care (i.e. extraction)?

On another note:

I spend a lot of my energy trying to understand and offset my conscious and unconscious prejudices. I understand teeth signify class and that teeth do not determine whether people are worth treating well, befriending, employing, etc.

I say this because as with other unconscious prejudices (toward infirmity, slovenliness, uncouthness, etc.), I note and observe my feelings of aversion when I interact with someone who has bad teeth. (When I say "note" I mean in the mindful way where I understand these feelings are trivial and I endeavor to not discriminate against the person with whom I am interacting. The feelings are there, but I make sure not to pay them any mind other than to note they are there.)

Which brings me to my final observation and request of people who do have bad teeth: do keep in mind not everyone "judges" people who have bad teeth. (Please no, #notAllToothJudgers)

While feelings regarding disability are unavoidable, negative reactions need neither be expressed nor entertained.

Teeth are so fraught with cultural and biological significance that many of us have dreams about (losing) them. Reactions to teeth can be primal and the deep social and psychological investments regarding them is due in no small part to the fact that teeth not only enable us to nourish ourselves. Teeth also are "front" and "center" in many of our most intimate encounters with each other.
posted by mistersquid at 9:42 PM on October 25, 2014


I wasn't taught to take care of my teeth and, as it happened, I was pretty resistant to cavities and such so as a child I got away with it. We were pretty poor when I was young, upper-lower-class to lower-middle-class, and so I had one small orthodontic intervention that worked well enough, and that was it. When my wisdom teeth came in, two came in fairly well and two not-so-well, but they didn't cause any problems so they were left alone. I never had a filling as a kid.

This has all been mostly true during my adult life. I've not seen a dentist since 1982. And, even then, that was because of a broken tooth from a fistfight.

I've never flossed, and have never brushed my teeth as often as I should have. For me, as a kid and an adult, brushing my teeth was primarily a social hygiene thing, about bad breath, not as much protecting my teeth.

So now, as I'm about to turn fifty, what's happened is that a few years ago all this started to catch up with me. I've been very fortunate and probably, had I taken care of my teeth properly, I'd have had nearly perfect teeth until my death. But I didn't do that, and I've got all sorts of bad cavities and problems in there. Both those impacted wisdom teeth on my left side are now big problems.

But I'm disabled and have no dental insurance. I'm very poor. Even having a tooth pulled would be a huge expense for me that I couldn't pay. So far, while I've had some mild recurring toothaches that have always gotten better on their own, my fear is that any dentist that looks in my mouth will want to pull pretty much everything. I mean, when I look closely at my teeth I suspect a large number of them need to come out.

The only truly affordable means of dental care right now in the US is via dental schools. They will all provide dental services performed by students (under supervision) more inexpensively than anywhere else. The problem, though, is that there aren't actually that many dental schools in the US. Far fewer than medical schools, actually. A surprising number of states don't have a dental school at all. But, for those of you who need it, that's one thing to look into.

Back in 2009, Slate magazine's June Thomas did a seven-part series called The American Way of Dentistry. It's quite good.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:18 AM on October 26, 2014 [3 favorites]


That article was very good. Thanks, Ivan.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:09 AM on October 26, 2014


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