If all you want for Christmas is your two front teeth, it’s time to borrow $6,400 or pay 1/3 price in India

Visit Victoria Station while in Mumbai for implants

If our politicians ever make the effort to visit the “little people” – those neglected voters, who don’t live in gated communities and suck gin in the Capitol – our selected leaders will see smiles without front teeth. And that is just the beginning of their constituents’ dental problems.

Some 140 million Americans have no dental insurance, and for most who do pay premiums, the coverage won’t cover the cost of replacing those two front teeth with implants

Medicaid and Medicare will pay nothing.

If you search the web for how to afford dental implants, the usual answer is borrow the money. A few suggested contributing more to your Health Savings account (as if everyone has an account). One advised asking for charity on the Internet. I am surprised no one said: write a check or pay with cash.

Let’s talk dollars and sense. An average price for a front tooth implant is about $3,200, so two will cost $6,400.

This is an astronomical expense for the elderly – the very folks who are most in need.

A woman on Social Security receives an average $1,300 a month. Some $135 is deducted for Medicare B. A Supplemental Medicare policy adds $120. Rental low guess is $500. Utilities ballpark, $150, Food estimated at $14 a day or $420 a month. Total is $1,325.

If this woman managed to eat less and save $100 a month, she would have to wait five years before the procedure. If she had four teeth affected – ten years.

An alternative is to remove all her teeth and replace them with dentures, a painful process. Some 16 teeth, for example, extracted at $225 per tooth is $3,600, plus $2400 for the dentures, or a total of $6,000. She can’t win, either way.

Is there something wrong with a nation that plans to eliminate an inheritance tax that only affects multi-millionaires, while leaving its citizens frowning to hide their smile?

The answer is clear. As usual, you have to depart “the greatest country in the world.” You fly round trip ($850) to India, spend $100 a night for four nights ($400) and get your two implants ($800 total) at the best dental offices in that country of 1.2 billion natives. Total price: $2, 050. Savings: $4,350.

If you need four implants, total cost is $2,850, vs. $12,800 in U.S. Your savings: $9,950.

Some 500,000 Americans will travel abroad for dental care this year. If I ever have to go one thing is sure.

I won’t feel out of place. Everyone who works at my local dental office is from India.

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