Thursday, April 16, 2009

Orthodontics NOT an Option - Even in Recessionary Times


Making the Decision for Orthodontics

Even in hard economic times of a nationwide American recession, patients and parents are not foregoing straightening their or their children's teeth.

WITH her husband newly unemployed, Kim Moldofsky isn’t about to drop thousands of dollars guilt-free.

Except to straighten out her firstborn’s teeth.

The way she sees it, dipping into their rainy-day savings to correct her son Isaac’s overbite is a sound investment when few exist. “If you look at what would be happening to our money sitting in banks, we are not getting much return on it,” said Ms. Moldofsky, a new-media consultant who lives in Morton Grove, Ill. “This is something we will get a return on.”

Even in the best of times, paying $4,500 to $7,000 for braces (depending on the severity of alignment issues) is a stretch for many — not to mention the thousands that some spend on preparatory work. Dental insurance pays roughly $750 to $2,000; often, the whole tab is paid out of pocket.

As job losses and salary reductions wreak havoc on family budgets, financing the perfect smile is a big-ticket purchase that many middle-class parents find is worth scrimping for. For Ms. Moldofsky, family dinners at restaurants and tennis lessons are out, and her boys no longer attend private school, partly because of the expense. But 11-year-old Isaac’s orthodontics remain a priority.
“Could we have avoided doing this? Probably,” she said. Still, she added, “I think having well-aligned teeth — this is going to sound shallow — but it sends a message to people.”
This is understandable for appearance and the ability to communicate reasons. Orthodontics has always been a mostly non-covered dental insurance benefit and an option for most people and their children.

If anything, the private dental care system in the United States has maintained this option for most Americans. And, has instilled competition to keep the private orthodontic fees in line with the market of other health care commodities.

The economic downturn will NOT last forever but these smiles will last a lifetime.

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