The cost of dental care becomes overwhelming if your current dental plan offers limited coverage, or if you need to schedule multiple procedures in a very short timeframe. For example, having multiple cavities can easily end up costing you several hundred dollars, if not thousands of dollars.
Fortunately, there are several tips you can follow to save on dental costs. Whether you are looking to save money on an individual basis or you are cutting costs for your whole family, preventive measures and payment plans are some of the most effective ways to cut down on dental costs.
You may need to adjust your tactic depending upon certain factors, since everyone has different dental needs and expectations. For example, you may be able to work out a payment plan with your dentist, but your dentist is not under any obligation to accept this offer. If your dentist does not agree to this option, you will need to resort to other financing possibilities to help cover or reduce the costs. More information about reducing dental costs is covered in the subjects below.
Preventative Care is a Key Component
One of the easiest ways to save on dental costs (and other medical costs) is to spend time on preventative care routines. To achieve this at the most basic level, you can start by brushing and flossing your teeth on a regular basis. This crucial step can be taken immediately within the comfort of your own home and you can see the results from this routine during your next scheduled visit to the dentist. The more time you spend taking care of your teeth, the less time you will need to spend paying a dentist to complete lengthy procedures to reverse damage you have incurred. You should brush your teeth at least twice a day and you should floss on a consistent basis. Additionally, adopting a low-sugar diet can aid in your dental care as well.
Another form of preventative care is routine cleanings. By scheduling a routine cleaning with your dentist and following through with your scheduling, you are acting as a first line of defense against painful and expensive dental procedures. Your dentist will be able to identify a growing problem at a routine cleaning before it becomes a deeper issue. By catching these problems early on, you will be able to treat them in a more affordable manner. If you skip your routine cleaning, you may miss problems that can lead to crowns or extractions, which can become increasingly expensive. You should have a routine cleaning at least once a year or every six months if you have any preexisting dental issues.
Sort Through Pricing Options to Achieve Affordability
To save on your dental costs, you can opt for different payment plans or pricing options to make your bill more affordable. If your dentist requires an up-front payment for a procedure you need, you can try to negotiate yr bills. For example, ask if he or she offers services on a sliding scale to make the cost more affordable for you when it comes time to pay. The overall discount offered may vary from one dentist to another, so you will need to speak with your provider directly to determine what discounts are offered, if any. Some dentists may offer a discount if you are choosing to pay for your procedure with cash, as this will save them from credit card processing fees. Additionally, if you have multiple family members who need to have procedures done, you can ask your dentist if he or she provides a family discount to save on the overall cost.
To save even further, you can speak with your dentist about potential financing plans. Some dentists will offer patients a financing plan where the patient can pay over the course of several months instead of paying for everything up-front. You will need to select an amount you can comfortably pay during the agreed upon duration of time. Interest rates may be introduced to the plan if you are not making your payments on time, so make sure you are honest and upfront with your financial needs, so your dentist can determine a reasonable payment plan.
Pursue Alternative Dental Plans and Procedures
Another way to save on dental costs is through discounted dental plans. If your current employer does not offer dental coverage as part of your healthcare plan, you will want to enroll in a discounted plan on your own. The process is relatively straightforward and can be completed through a few simple steps. Purchasing a dental discount plan involves paying a one-time fee each year that is considerably lower than most monthly plans. After you have paid your fee, you can select a dentist from a network list where your discounted dental plan is accepted.
If you have dental insurance through your employer and still want to save on dental costs, you can utilize a flexible spending account to cover the cost of any upcoming dental procedures. Flexible spending accounts are offered by certain employers and allow you to use pre-tax dollars to create an account to cover any medical costs throughout the year. You will need to create an accurate budget in advance to ensure you are keeping a reasonable amount in your flexible spending account. If you place too much money into the account and do not use all of it, you will lose this money at the end of the year. Dentists will usually work with you to create a long-term dental plan for the upcoming year and this will allow you to determine the right amount of money to place into your FSA.
To cut the cost of your dental work considerably, you can also opt to have your procedures completed at a dentistry school. Dental schools will offer free or discounted services as the dentistry students will be performing the procedures as part of the curriculum. Each procedure is overseen by a qualified, licensed professional so you will still receive the same level of care as you would when visiting a regular dentist office. The procedures and cleanings may take more time, as the students will need to ensure they are completing each step properly, but your savings will be worth the extra time spent in the dentist chair.