What is your patient's mouth worth?

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What is your patient's mouth worth? Patients probably take for granted that they can eat almost anything they want and enjoy the taste and chewing satisfaction of the food. Not to mention that this is the only way to get nourishment into your body unless you're hooked up to an intravenous drip.

So, what if our patients had no teeth to chew this delicious food? If they wanted to regain most of the natural sensations and function, they might consider implants to replace the lost teeth. Implants could cost $100,000 or more to do the job of replacing most of their teeth to restore their wonderful smile and that satisfying sensation from chewing.


What if they were in the market for a high-performance automobile. It would cost more than $400,000 to purchase some models of a Lamborghini, with one model, in particular, going for a cool $4.5 million. Why spend that money? Because you valued the benefits of such a vehicle.

Alvin Danenberg, DDS.Alvin Danenberg, DDS.

No matter whether considering implants for the entire mouth to regain function or a fancy, quality car, if you spend the money, you would take care of all these precious purchases. For example, it's likely any of us would put high-octane gasoline into a special auto and maintain it as required to keep it running in top shape for as long as possible. After all, if you spent a lot of money to acquire these things, you saw value in them.

I also look at it from another set of data. What about the body overall?

I've read that the value of body parts would gather a minimum of $500,000 if they were sold on the black market. Then there is the value of future earning power as well as the emotional value. In dollar terms, that is a lot of money. So, I ask my patients, don't you think you also should take care of this precious commodity called your body?

If they see value in the things they purchased, shouldn't they also see the value in their body? I ask them these questions:

“If they see value in the things they purchased, shouldn't they also see the value in their body?”
  • Why do most people put poor-quality fuel into their bodies and allow them to run at a subpar level?
  • Why don't most people allow their bodies the time they need to rest and restore?
  • Why do most people subject their bodies to chemicals and other toxins that foul up their biological engines?
  • Why don't most people take care of their bodies as they were created to perform in the same way they would maintain an expensive car?

Think about it not just for your patients but for yourself: What value do you give your body?

A version of this column first ran on Dr. Danenberg's blog. DrBicuspid.com appreciates the opportunity to reprint it. His book Crazy-Good Living from Elektra Press is available here.

Alvin Danenberg, DDS, practices at the Bluffton Center for Dentistry in Bluffton, SC. He is also on the faculty of the College of Integrative Medicine and created its integrative periodontal teaching module. He also spent two years as chief of periodontics at Charleston Air Force Base earlier in his career. His website is drdanenberg.com.

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of DrBicuspid.com, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

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