$25 Prescription Toothpaste Is Not a Sham
You won’t find these toothpastes in your local grocery store, because of the high amount of fluoride
I’ve never minded going to the dentist. This probably has a lot to do with the fact that I’ve never really had a dentist tell me anything other than “your teeth look great, see you next year.” Or, at least, I’d never had a dentist tell me anything other than that before this month.
After a lengthier-than-wise hiatus (we’re talking years), I made an appointment to see a new dentist in my neighborhood in Brooklyn. I sat in the exam chair for what felt like an eternity — probably about 30 minutes — waiting. I stepped out of the exam room to get my teeth X-rayed and when I returned the building manager bustled in to check a leaking pipe. An assistant came in and used the phone to order new toothbrushes for the office while loudly discussing the order with the person doing my intake survey. When the dentist finally appeared, he snapped at the assistant. This is all to say that by the time the dentist looked at my scans and told me I had developed a bunch of cavities, I was feeling pretty rattled.
Rattled enough that when he suggested I immediately start using a prescription, high-fluoride toothpaste priced around $25 for 3.4 fluid ounces, I nodded and handed over my debit card. “Just add it to my tab,” I joked, as I was shown the projections for what filling and sealing my teeth would cost.
And then I got home, took a breath, looked at the toothpaste, and started to wonder if I actually needed the pricey bottle I’d just paid for. A healthy number of questions is never a bad thing when it comes to your health and I’d be lying if I didn’t also have a story from The Atlantic about a scammer dentist rattling around in my brain. (My unnamed dentist, to be clear, was not a scammer so much as just a terse person on a busy Monday morning.)
When he suggested I immediately start using a prescription toothpaste, I nodded and handed over my debit card. “Just add it to my tab,” I joked.
I mentioned it to my girlfriend who also uses a prescription toothpaste each night. “Oh yeah, it’s…