How To Save Money At The Dentist – 5 Tips To Control Costs

It is so easy to talk yourself into putting off preventative dental care. Your teeth look good. Your mouth feels fine. All seems well. Until the day one of your teeth starts to throb or ache or outright hurt. Suddenly, panic mode can set in. This is especially true if you don’t have dental insurance.

So now you have three options. Go into debt to tend to your toothache. Delay and hope it doesn’t get worse. Or follow the advice in this article!

To further help you save time, I’m going to summarize the gist of this article up front. Read beyond the below table if you want to get more in-depth.

Money-Saving TipWays You Can Accomplish
Dental InsuranceWork health plans; Medicare
offers supplemental dental
plans; stand-alone dental
plans; health savings
accounts
Regular Dental CheckupsMake sure you schedule that
next appointment before you
leave your current one – this is
the most important tip!!
Catch issues early!
Try Dental SchoolsDental Schools usually offer
great service for a fraction of
the cost of a regular
dental practice
Brush And Floss DailyThis is the most practical tip
as well as the most
effective. Prevention is
the key to saving money.
Shop AroundCheck local Dental practice
websites and call for
rates/prices

The High Costs of Dental Care Today

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), nearly 17 percent of youth and 31 percent of adults have untreated cavities.

This isn’t just because people are afraid to go to the dentist.

Only 29 percent of seniors currently carry dental insurance.

Dental care is expensive. It is often expensive even if you carry dental insurance. Without dental insurance, the costs can be simply prohibitive.

Consider the average cost of these common dental procedures (with and without dental insurance):

– Office visit: $50 to $350
– Teeth cleaning: $70 to $200
– X-rays: $20 to $250
– Cavity: $50 to $300
– Crown: $500 to $1,500
– Root canal: $300 to $1,500
– Wisdom tooth extraction (per tooth): $75 to $200
– Tooth extraction: $75 to $450
– Bridge: $1,000 to $3,500
– Implant: $1,000 to $3,000

Some of these procedures can theoretically wait. But the likelihood of having to have the more expensive procedures drops when you invest in regular preventative dental exams, cleanings and care.

So basically your choice is between spending a small amount of money now and a potentially enormous amount of money later.

Now let’s take a look at five practical ways to save on your dental care needs.

Tips and Tricks to Save at the Dentist

These tips and tricks will net you important savings – and not just to your bottom line.

Consider this: 80 percent of adults put off getting dental care.

Yet the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) lists dental health as one of the top 10 overall health predictors for adults today.

So when you use these tips, you save more than money. You save your time, your wellbeing, your chances for a work promotion and even your life.

1. Dental Insurance

Do you have dental insurance? According to Dentisty IQ magazine, if you have been forced to go without dental insurance in the past, this may soon change.

Health insurers are increasingly recognizing how prompt and regular preventative dental care in the present can reduce high claims payouts for other types of health care in the future.

It is worth checking around again to see if you may be eligible for a dental insurance plan.

Are you employed? Check with your employer to find out what benefits you may be eligible for.

Are you self-employed? Opt in for a low-cost dental plan when you register with the Health Care Marketplace this year.

Are you a student? Contact your campus clinic or financial aid office to discover what benefits or discounts your status may afford you.

Are you under age 26? You may still be eligible to be covered under your parents’ health and dental insurance plan.

Still can’t find dental coverage? Ask your dentist about financing or self-pay sliding scale rates. Many dentists will offer self-insured patients financing options or a sliding scale rate for services.

2. Regular Checkups to detect problems early

You know what the old cliche says: an ounce of prevention now…..

In terms of your dental health, you can save more than a pound later by opting for at least an annual preventative dental checkup.

Periodontal disease affects nearly half of adults ages 30 and older in the United States today.

According to the Consumer Guide to Dentistry, treatment can run as much as $10,000 for advanced cases.

Also worth considering – treating periodontal disease will require multiple dental visits over a period of months or perhaps years, eating away at your time and causing you discomfort and pain.

So your choice boils down to one to two annual visits of about 45 minutes each for a preventative checkup and cleaning or up to $10,000 in highly invasive and uncomfortable dental treatments later.

Choosing preventative dental care really does end up making smart financial sense in the long-term.

3. Use Dental Schools

Have you ever wondered where all those aspiring dentists-to-be go to hone their skills and practice their craft?

The truth is, dental schools might just be one of the best kept secrets in America today.

Many dental schools offer services free of charge or at a greatly reduced rate in exchange for giving their students the chance to put their knowledge and skills to practical use.

Check the American Dental Association (ADA) website to find a dental school in your local area.

For a simple preventative cleaning, you can get even more granular and head for the nearest dental hygienist school. Check the American Dental Hygiene Association (ADA) website to find a dental hygienist school in your local area.

Do you need specialized dental care you cannot afford out of pocket? You may be able to enroll in a clinical trial to get the treatment you need.

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) is a great place to search for dental clinical trials you may be eligible to enroll in.

Yet another great option is to seek out low-cost dental care clinics near you. These clinics are often funded entities or registered not-for-profit organizations specifically chartered to provide low cost or free dental care to self-pay patients.

You can check with the HRSA Data Warehouse to find low-cost clinics in your local area.

4. Brush And Floss Daily

The days when all you had available to you was an old-school manual toothbrush and thick uncomfortable floss have long since passed – thank goodness! Today, you can take excellent care of your teeth without even having to think about what you are doing.

If you prefer to go the manual route, most dentists still give out preventative care packets to patients who schedule routine dental care. So you can walk out with a handy toothbrush, toothpaste and floss kit totally for free!

#1 Remedy for Bad Breath and Mouth Odor

5. Shop Around If Needed

This is something too many dental patients do not even realize is available to them. You absolutely can and should shop around to find out what the “going rate” is for dental care in your local area.

While it is true that cost of living, taxation, dental insurance rates, overhead and other operating expenses may influence how much you pay where you live, dentists are also free to set their own prices for common procedures.

You don’t want to find out only after the fact that you could have had the same dental treatment work done at a much lower rate. You should contact at least three to five dentists to gather quotes for the work you need done.

Then you can research each provider online to find out what past patients have to say. This will help ensure you choose based on quality rather than price alone.

With these five handy tips for reducing dental costs at the ready, you don’t have to endure tooth, mouth or gum pain and the worry that comes with it.