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Lack of Insurance Drives Dental Tourism

With only half the U.S. population covered by dental insurance, Americans are flocking overseas for high-quality, low-cost dental care

The U.S. is facing a dental crisis. Only about 50% of the population has dental insurance, compared with the 85% who have medical benefits. Medicare doesn't cover dental procedures, despite the fact that aging teeth are just like aging bodies—vulnerable and brittle. That means more and more patients will be traveling abroad to take care of their pearly whites.

The problem in the U.S. is aggravated by the fact that even people with dental insurance aren't that well covered. The vast majority of policies have a $1,500 annual cap on payouts, a level that hasn't changed since the 1970s, though premiums have been rising. That $1,500 can easily be wiped out by one complicated root canal or a crown.