5 Ways to Save Money on Dental Care
“Your dentist will be the first to tell you how important it is to come in for checkups, cleanings, and treatment. They probably won’t tell you how much it’s going to cost you.”
You know how important it is to keep up with dental visits but if you don’t have insurance or you’re on a tight budget, you may be skipping those all-important trips to the dental office because of cost. The National Association of Dental Plans reveals 36% of Americans were without dental benefits in 2014. If you’re one of them, it’s even more important for you to seek out affordable dental care or you put yourself at a higher risk for gum disease, tooth decay, and even tooth loss. Here are five ways you can save money on dental care:
#1: Commit to an At-Home Dental Care Regimen
Brushing and flossing regularly, eating a healthy diet, and using the right type of toothbrush are essential for maintaining optimum oral health. If you’re neglecting your oral health in any way, you run the risk of having gum disease and suffering from all types of gum and tooth problems. Adopt some healthy habits so you can save on costly dental treatments and procedures at any age.
#2: Take Advantage of a Dental Discount Plan
Whether you have insurance or not, you can buy a dental discount plan where you’re eligible to pay a pre-negotiated, discounted fee for all types of procedures. If your dental insurance deductible is fairly high or you know your insurance company won’t cover certain procedures in full, your dental discount plan may be able to help you save a few hundred dollars on pricey procedure such as crowns (typically $700+) and fillings ($100 to $300+).
#3: Pay in Cash
If you’re undergoing a dental procedure that may or may not be only be partially covered by insurance, you may be better off paying for treatment in full with cash on your own. Many dentists will extend a 5 to 10% discount to patients who pay with cash, in full, before their scheduled treatment. If you know your insurance company might pay only 10% of a procedure that costs $2,000 (and they may refuse to cover all costs for some reason), you would owe either $1,800 or $2,000 when the dentist sends the final bill. If you decided to pay in cash instead, you would be guaranteed the $1,800 fee — and saving yourself $200.
#4: Shop Around for Dental Insurance
If your current insurance provider doesn't cover much beyond routine visits or you have a plan with a high deductible, don’t be afraid to shop around. If you don’t have dental coverage at all, you can choose from several affordable plans. Take a look at some of the latest dental plans from leading carriers with low deductibles and many services covered at 100%. You could be saving a significant amount of money on each visit just by switching your insurance plan.
#5: Take Advantage of New Patient Specials
Many practices attract new patients by offering deeply discounted services or waiving dental cleaning and x-ray fees altogether. Visit local dental practice websites for introductory offers or simply call a practice to find out about new patient specials. You can pay for the discounted services out of pocket and then decide whether the provider will be a good match for you.
When those trips to the dentist are putting a strain on your budget, it may be time to explore some more affordable options. Use these tips to save money on dental care so you can maintain a healthy smile and reduce the risk of costly dental procedures in the future.