Did you know that almost 100% of adults worldwide have tooth decay?
That's right; even if you think you have perfect teeth, chances are high that you have decay in one or more of your teeth.
With that said, if you think your dental health is in poor shape, it may also be worse than you think. This is why taking care of your teeth should be a priority for you. This means you should follow your dentist's recommendations.
However, those recommendations and treatments may sometimes be too expensive for you. Follow the tips below to save on dental costs and avoid further complications.
1. Practice Good Oral Hygiene
The best way to save money on dental care is to prevent any issues in the first place. Practice good oral hygiene, which equates to regular brushing and flossing.
Using the proper technique of brushing also helps. Use short strokes and brush your teeth back and forth. Don't forget to brush the back of your front teeth as well.
Do this at least twice daily, including once before bedtime. Each session should last at least 2 minutes. After which, use a tongue scraper and floss.
Many underestimate the benefits of flossing. It removes buildup and food particles, preventing bacteria from growing while you sleep. It also prevents the buildup from hardening, which only a dentist can remove at this point.
Don't forget to floss every night, but if you're prone to tartar buildup, floss every morning, too. Then, refrain from eating again before sleeping. If you do, you'll have to brush again and floss again.
2. Get Regular Check-ups
This may seem to be counterintuitive. However, visiting your dentist time and again will help you save money in the long run. Your dentist can give you some pointers on your oral hygiene and spot the first signs of decay and other issues.
A dental check-up costs about $100 to $200, but the recommendation is to go only at least twice a year. It takes a while for changes to appear and going too frequently is not only a waste of time but a waste of cash too.
You can lower your expenses even further if you have dental insurance or a savings plan. These can slash down the amount you'll pay in cash.
If you don't have any, the cost may be pretty steep depending on the clinic and where you live. Yet, consider how much you'll be spending if you let your dental condition worsen.
3. Have Regular Cleanings
While you're in the dentist office, get some cleaning as well. It costs about $75 to $200 on average, but the cost already includes the exam and even an X-ray, too.
Do this procedure at least once a year, but experts recommend getting this done every 6 months. As the cost already includes a check-up, you won't even have to shell out more money in the first place.
Still not convinced about the cost? Consider how much a cavity filling would cost you without insurance: around $135 to $240 for a single composite filling. This means that if you have several cavities, expect to pay more.
The longer you forego prevention care or a treatment, the more expensive dental care gets. You may end up needing a root canal, which costs around $1,000. If you need a crown installed after the procedure, you'll have to spend another $1,000.
Some other treatments are even more expensive than a dental cleaning done twice a year. To avoid higher costs and toothaches, why not pay a visit to your dentist more often?
4. Get a Dental Insurance
If you can, get a dental insurance, which usually covers check-ups, X-rays, and cleanings. Sometimes, it also pays for, or at least a portion of, other treatments, such as crowns and fillings.
Ask your workplace if they offer a dental insurance. You may also get a health plan that includes dental coverage.
You have several options for an affordable dental insurance, too, if you don't qualify for it in your workplace or for government assistance. Read dental insurance reviews to make sure you're getting a good one, though.
5. Buy a Dental Savings Plan
Is the cost of insurance still too expensive for you? Consider getting a dental discount plan instead.
You only have to pay a small one-time fee per year. The cost is around $80 to $200, and you'll get all your dental works with a discount.
You'll have to choose a dentist from their network, but don't worry. Their network is large and consists of reputable dentists who can provide up to 50% discounts for you.
These plans already allow you to save a little bit of money for cleanings and exams. If you're needing other treatments, though, a plan will save you even more.
6. Shop Around for Prices
You don't have to keep going to your current dentist if their rates are making you poor. Don't hesitate to shop around for lower prices. You might be able to find another good dentist with a more reasonable rate for the treatment you want to get.
Look into low-cost clinics, too, which offer a much cheaper option for a wide range of treatments. There are even community health centers that can offer basic procedures. Examples are X-rays, tooth extractions, cavity fillings, root canals, cleanings, and other dental care.
Of course, any dental work requires a good dentist who can do it in the right way. Look for reviews and ask the previous customers if you can. Make sure that you're not putting your dental health at risk to save on cost.
7. Don't Get Unnecessary Treatments
It's important to be proactive when it comes to your dental health, but you don't have to go beyond what's necessary. While X-rays are important, for example, you don't need them more than once a year. In fact, many dentists recommend getting it every 2 or 3 years if you don't have any issues.
Watch out for dentist scams as well. Some unethical dentists might recommend a treatment you don't even need. This will increase your bill at best or provide a harmful effect at worst.
Even if you have an insurance policy, make sure that the dentist is billing the insurance company for the right procedure, too. Some might be billing them for a more expensive procedure, which is a common scam in the medical industry.
8. Ask Your Dentist for Options to Save on Dental Procedures
Do you have to get that treatment right away? Ask your dentist; he/she can suggest which procedures you need right now and which ones you can do later.
Tell your dentist your financial situation as well. If there's no way you can do a certain procedure now, you might be able to afford a much cheaper option that can act as a Band-Aid until you can afford the recommended procedure.
Your dentist might also be able to offer a payment plan, which enables you to pay in installments. Ask your dentist about it; it's cheaper than swiping your credit card as you can avoid paying a huge interest.
9. Pay in Cash and Ask for a Discount
Don't hesitate to ask for a discount, too! Many dentists will be glad to give you one as long as you pay in full in cash.
Dealing with credit card payments and billing insurance companies can be a hassle for dentists. That's why many would rather you pay for your visits in cash.
10. Visit a Dental School
If you don't have a problem with students performing the dental works, go to a dental school and get huge savings on costs. You only pay for a fraction of the real cost of the procedure, such as cleanings and tooth extractions.
Note that inexperienced dental students, for the most part, will be your "dentist." However, there will be instructors guiding them and supervising them throughout the procedure.
This is a great way to save as you can have all your dental works done in a dental school. Plus, basic treatments are easy for them, so the risk is not much higher, either. You can even get implants, but you'll have to assume higher risks for more complicated procedures.
11. Go to a Charity
There are several charities that offer dental care for low-income individuals, people with disabilities, the elderly and other groups. If you qualify, there's no harm in getting the help of a charity to finally get rid of that toothache.
An example is the Dr. Borna Meisami Commemorative Foundation. This institution offers free dental care to victims of dental abuse. There should be one that can accommodate you in your local community, so ask around for such.
Good Dental Health Is Paramount
Now that you know how to save on dental work, there should be no more reason to avoid going to the dentist.
Good dental health goes beyond having perfect teeth. It gives you self-confidence, and you get to enjoy eating without worry of pain and diseases.
That's why having a dental insurance should be a priority. To learn more about it, visit our blog now. Check out more information about other insurances as well, such as life insurance.