7 Ways to Save Money on Your Dental Care

Good health comes with acts of prevention, and saving money works similarly. People dread going to the dentist for many reasons. They may lack insurance and a disposable income to cover dental treatments and procedures. They may have a phobia. They may feel uncomfortable with perceived judgments placed on them for poor oral care.

Life happens. Circumstances beyond your control may affect regular and appropriate oral health care habits and treatment. Your health still matters. It’s time to take charge and see the dentist while reducing your fees. Here are seven ways to save money on your dental care.

1. Develop a Treatment Plan by Priority

Have a list of dental work and a limited budget? Develop a treatment plan based on priority with your dentist, asking which dental procedures need addressing immediately versus what you can put off and for how long. Some temporary fixes may give you relief until you have a necessary procedure further down the list. Ask how to adjust your oral care and dietary habits in the meantime.

Once you get the first treatment done, the second follows, and so forth. This gives you time to develop a financial game plan to go with your treatment plan. 
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2. Arrange a Payment Plan

Many dentists empathize with patient financial struggles and prefer an understanding approach if you can arrange and stick to a payment plan. Leave the credit card in your wallet, and save money on interest. If the dentist conducts the procedure in stages, then you have more opportunities to pay. Even if they don’t, your dentist may still allow you to establish a payment plan.

3. Pay in Cash

If you don’t have a dental plan or insurance, ask in advance if you can receive a discount for paying in cash. The dentist’s office pays for credit card vendor fees and must deal with billing issues., which can be a hassle. Indicate that you will bring the payment in full at the time of the service.

4. Maintain Regular Visits

You know the drill, perhaps too well — maybe that prevents you from visiting the dentist. You know you should visit the dentist twice a year, ideally every six months for a cleaning and checkup. Once a year is a good starting place, but you know you can do better. Sometimes, your benefits don’t kick in for a while, and if you’re not too worried about your dental health, that’s also an understandable reason to extend the time between visits.

You will save money in the long run with regular dental visits because your dentist takes the time to check your teeth thoroughly. Finding and fixing a cavity is cheaper than a root canal or other oral surgery.

5. Address Risk Factors Now

Your total well-being is linked closely to your dental health. Researchers found correlations between oral bacteria and the onset of heart disease, and your mouth provides a home for both good and bad bacteria. Gum disease also is a risk factor for certain types of cancer and diabetes. Your dental health is more than a cosmetic feature.

Address these risk factors now through regular dental visits and advice from your doctor. You may consider practicing better oral health care habits and eating more healthily, such as reducing your sugar intake.

6. Ask Detailed Questions

You must make your health a priority, and it’s easy to accept the dentist as the authority because of their expertise and education. However, some procedures may feel too over-the-top to you. It’s okay and necessary to ask questions.

Part of the dentist’s job is to educate you and make you feel comfortable as their patient. Perhaps you can delay X-rays until your next appointment and save money in the meantime. Ask for more affordable alternative treatment options, with pros and cons.

Your dentist should explain why the procedure is necessary along with the ins and outs. You have every right to information about how you're spending your money. You also have a right to a second opinion if anything feels off to you.

7. Get Basics Done at Dental School or Clinic

No insurance and on a budget? Take care of basic treatments at a dental school where all cleanings and other dental work are supervised by experienced dentists, though the purpose is education for the students. Some schools also offer supervised extractions.

You typically pay a highly discounted or sliding scale fee, depending on the specific service. Dental schools usually list this information for your review in advance. If you meet a certain financial threshold, you may qualify for a reduced fee or free treatment at a dental clinic. These clinics operate to serve the disadvantaged.

Start Today
Use these seven tips to save money on your care when you visit the dentist or plan to undergo any procedures. Develop a priority treatment plan with your dentist, and if you can’t afford regular visits, consider getting cleanings at a dental school. Paying in cash also saves you money.

In the meantime, what you do daily for your teeth majorly impacts your oral and overall health. Maintain regular visits, and address risk factors now. Reduce your sugar intake, and brush and floss twice daily. Your smile should radiate your happiness in life.

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