Do you need help with your dental bills? Are you facing some huge dental bills and wonder how you can save some money?
We’ve got four easy ways you can start saving money on teeth care.
One of our Facebook Friends posted this question about Dental Bills:
After a few years of neglect, I had a minor dental emergency and found that I need to spend $7,000 to completely fix my bad teeth. Unfortunately, we don’t have dental insurance. Here are my questions:
- How does your family deal with dental issues?
- Do you think dental insurance is worth the expense?
How to Save Money on Dental Expenses
Dental care is important to your health. But there are many different ways to achieve dental health.
In the past we used a “perfectionistic” dentist who prescribed “complete fixes” costing three or four times more than alternate methods. We weren’t comfortable with his philosophy. A good dentist will understand a patient’s financial means and offer various price options rather than a take-it-or-leave-it diagnosis. If your dentist won’t do this, find a different one.
Many American families sacrifice their oral health under the belief that they can’t afford dental care. With over 100 million people in the U.S. without dental insurance, and one in five adults not attending routine dental care appointments, it’s clear that, while routine dental care is necessary, the cost is a legitimate concern.
Did you know that taking on the full cost is not the only option for maintaining routine dental care? There are a number of practical things families can do to help save money on dental care without putting their oral health at risk.
1. Get Educated – Get a Second Opinion
When faced with any large outlay of money, it is always best to become more educated. Get a second or third opinion; visit a local dental school to get input. The more educated you become, the better you’ll be able to determine what is a necessity.
2. Pay Less with Insurance
Dental insurance is expensive but when you’re facing a major bill, it might be a good way to go.
3. Pay Less at Dental Schools
Another option would be to contact a dental school in your area and compare their pricing. Many offer steep discounts on their services (search here for dental schools in your area)
4. Pay Less with a Discount Dental Plan
Or you might be better served by a discount dental program. These types of plans have advertised prices for specific dental services. Dentists agree to accept the discounted rate.
Dental discount plans are often joined by newer dentists looking to build their practices. One place to learn about them is at DentalPlans.com.
Spend some time researching and you may find that the time you invest will translate into several thousand dollars worth of savings.
RELATED ARTICLE: How to Cure the Common Cold Faster
5. Educate your family and practice oral health best practices
There are simple, ongoing steps everyone should be following to keep their teeth and mouth clean and healthy:
- Brushing at least twice a day
- Flossing at least once a day
- Using an antimicrobial mouthwash when necessary
- Consistently scheduling routine cleanings and examinations at the dentist
These preventive habits will not only encourage a healthy smile and fresher breath, but they can reduce the chances of developing tooth decay, gum disease, as well as a host of more serious illnesses and conditions that your dentist can help spot and diagnose in time to effectively treat. Failing to maintain good oral health habits like these often results in some level of dental complications down the road, along with a lot of unexpected expenses.
6. Work closely with your dentist
Your dentist is primarily interested in maintaining and improving your oral health. When you’re at your semi-annual checkup, take advantage of the opportunity to discuss any concerns or questions you have and listen carefully to the dentist’s recommendations.
If they suggest ordering x-rays or an additional procedure, listen to the reasoning behind the recommendation and make an informed decision. A small investment now can prevent tremendous expense down the road when a minor problem progresses into a major issue.
Many dentists offer flexible financing options and discounts for uninsured patients such as a sliding fee scale or installment payments that can make receiving the care you and your family need easier to afford.
7. Budget wisely and Plan for Expected & Unexpected
Your family’s oral health really does deserve to be prioritized in the family budget. Although you may not be dealing with an obvious problem currently, that doesn’t mean it’s wise to ignore routine dental care.
Be sure to budget effectively to cover, at a minimum, a routine exam and cleaning every six months, x-rays once a year, and the supplies and equipment needed to maintain those healthy habits described above.
It’s also important to plan for the unexpected to help soften a financial blow. Despite your best efforts, you or your child may get a cavity that requires filling. Perhaps a filling or bridge you already have will need to be repaired or replaced during the year. Or, maybe it’s time for your teenager to look into getting braces.
Budgeting wisely for these possibilities will ensure that an emergency situation doesn’t turn into a huge burden.
8. Use a dental savings card
One of the most valuable investments you can make in your oral care is to join a dental savings plan to reduce costs. As we mentioned above, DentalPlans.com offers dental discount programs that cover everyone in your family for between $12 and $20 per month depending on the plan you choose.
Dental discount plans offer significant savings off the total cost of both routine and advanced dental services. Plus, utilizing an established discount program ensures that you’ll be seeing qualified dental professionals included on the plan’s panel of participating providers.
Consider Mexico Dentists
We have come across several people in Arizona who have traveled to Mexico border cities to have dental work done. They claim that the price they paid is 50 percent less than they could have had the work done in the US.
We recently hosted a person in one of our AirBnB rooms who lives part of the year in the country of Colombia. He told us that he gets his teeth cleaned by a dentist (not a hygenist) for $25. And that all of the medical equipment (MRIs, CTs, Xray machines) all appeared to be the latest technology.
If you’re facing a large dental bill, and you travel out of the country, this could be an option. But like most services, there are going to be good and bad providers.
Do your research. Talk with patients who have used specific dentists.
Here are a few articles that talk about going to other countries for dental care.
- The Good, Bad, and Ugly of Dental Tourism: Must Read for Denture Wearers
- How to find a good dentist in Mexico
- Top 5 Tips for Picking a Dentist in Mexico
Maintaining dental health now can help prevent more expensive issues in the future.
Use some or all of these 8 recommendations to help you care for your family’s oral health without breaking your budget.
Let us know if we missed any ways that you’ve found to save money on good dental care.