The biggest reason people skip out on going to the dentist isn't fear or inconvenience; it's cost, KIDY reports. A study published this month in Health Affairs found people are more likely to forego dental health because of cost than any other type of health care. And that's a problem, because avoiding dental care can have other health repercussions down the road, according to Health Central.
HealthDay News reports the study found that 13 percent of working-age adults don't go to the dentist because of the cost, and nearly 25 percent of low-income adults are dissuaded from the dentist by cost. And cost is more than three times more likely than fear to be the reason people skip the dentist.
In fact, cost is the main reason for not seeing a dentist even among people who have private dental insurance. Study author Marko Vujicic points to maximum benefit limits and high co-pays in most dental coverage as the culprit. "Anything beyond checkups, like getting a cavity filled or a root canal and a crown, you're looking right away at 20 percent to 50 percent coinsurance," he says, as fillings can cost more than $600 and crowns more than $1,400.
In 2015, 40 percent of dental care costs were paid out of pocket; that's compared to just 11 percent of total health care costs. "It seems like medical insurance is doing a better job at protecting consumers from financial hardship than dental insurance," Vujicic says.
The study shows it may be time for dental insurance to move away from a "pay per procedure" model. (In related news, studies show flossing is likely a waste of time.)