Why Do You Visit The Dentist Twice A Year?

You need to be a bit old to remember Bucky Beaver and Ipana Toothpaste. (I notice that Ipana generates a spell check error so it is not a common word.) Ipana was the Bristol-Myers best selling toothpaste from 1904 until the late ’50’s. Bristol-Myers discontinued it by the late ’70’s. That’s why you don’t remember it. Maybe you remember the “Brusha Brusha” jingle in the movie Grease.

Bucky Beaver was the animated character that appeared in Ipana commercials singing the Brusha Brusha song during the ’50’s.

You visit the dentist twice a year because Bucky Beaver told you to and you believed him. Ipana ads frequently carried the tag, “You should brush three times a day and visit your dentist two times a year!”

I don’t know much about Bucky’s double blind, statistically controlled, longitudinal survey that established the twice a year need to visit the dentist, because I cannot find it on the internet. I am forced to believe it does not exist and it is just advertising fluff to imply that your dentist would approve of the Ipana choice.

So why do we still price semi-annual visits to the dentist into group dental plans? How badly served would we be if it become 3 times in 2 years or even once a year? How much would the premium go down if we changed?

I personally attend 3 times in 2 years. I have an overactive salivary gland and 8 months is about as long as I can go. I used to go every 6 months but a new toothpaste that helps prevent plaque build-up made a difference. I wonder what the right time period might be? It is probably fewer months for some and more months for others.

Have your hygienist recommend a reasonable interval based on the scaling required. A longer interval will reduce the amount the insurer pays and your group premiums are influenced by paid claims.

If you had to make a new decision with no prior knowledge do you think you would base your choice on the wisdom of an animated character in a sixty-year-old magazine ad or television commercial? Not too likely.

“It has always been that way.” means you need to examine the context that created your auto-decision. Not just in business, but in your life as a whole.

BTW, Ipana reappeared in 2011. Bucky lives on.

Don Shaughnessy is a retired partner in an international accounting firm and is presently with The Protectors Group, a large personal insurance, employee benefits and investment agency in Peterborough Ontario. don.s@protectorsgroup.com

Follow on Twitter @DonShaughnessy

One Comment on “Why Do You Visit The Dentist Twice A Year?

  1. Why not allow the employee to go as many times as he/she wants and stop trying to control costs by taking away. Control costs by setting up an allotment and employees will spend it like it is their own money..Health and dental insurance is not insurance – insurance companies would like you to believe it is!

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