"Happiness is your dentist telling you it won't hurt and then having him catch his hand in the drill," said late-night talk show host and comedian Johnny Carson. This joke works because it implies karmic retribution for a dentist with no concern for his patient's comfort. But what about the real pain of dentistry: that cramping pain you feel in your wallet at the check-out counter -- a pain that lingers for months and even years after you leave the office? Perhaps Carson's joke should be revised to read: "Happiness is your dentist telling you your visit will be cheap and then having him break his $20,000 drill."
Jokes aside, dentistry doesn't have to be painful, at least not financially. Well, OK, maybe it'll hurt a little. That's because, unlike the price of a gallon of gas, which varies only 3 cents in a 10-mile radius, dental care spans a range from pricey to frugal, sometimes (illogically) for the same procedure.
Keep reading to discover how you can stay on the cheap side of your teeth.