It comes as no surprise: some forms of healthcare can get quite expensive. Without a substantial health insurance policy in place, many people struggle to stay healthy while also paying all their other bills on time. When it comes to dental care, things aren’t any different. As a matter of fact, some dental treatments can easily rack up lots of bills and expenses if you’re not careful. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of 8 tips for saving money on dental care. Let’s dive right in!
1. Perform Necessary Preventative Care Procedures at Home
The benefits of performing daily dental health procedures at home are numerous. Sure, brushing and flossing your teeth may not always be the most fun thing to do late at night or early in the morning, but it’s these two core activities that can actually end up saving you the most money on your dental bills over time. Getting the right dental care habits in place from an early age is an essential piece of maintaining a healthy smile and gums over the course of your life. For this reason, it’s crucial if you have children, to enforce daily brushing and flossing. As any adult with bad teeth knows, it’s much easier to begin this process of daily dental care routines earlier in life. The habits that are put into place early on pay off as life progresses.
It’s recommended that you brush twice per day. Ideally, you would brush once in the morning. You would brush again at night before going to bed. This regular routine makes sure that you’re getting rid of grime and sediment that gets on your teeth from the foods you eat and the beverages you drink throughout your day. Of course, regular brushing also has the added effect of avoiding things such as bad breath. Make sure you get a toothbrush that allows you to do necessary cleaning without harming your mouth or gums. As an example, far too many people use a toothbrush that has bristles that are far too tough for their mouth. As a result, they may find that they end up eroding their gums or hurting their tongue as they brush. In such a case, the person should invest in a brush with soft bristles to avoid damage. The same goes for toothpaste. Never be afraid to make adjustments to these things in order to find your perfect toothbrush and toothpaste. It’s well worth the time and money to ensure that you’re getting the most value possible out of your daily brushing routine.
2. Don’t Skip Out on Regular Visits to Your Dentist Office
While many people may associate the dentist office with major procedures such as dental crowns, you should keep in mind the fact that your regular visits to the dentist’s office are typically more important than any major ones. Why is that? Well, when you continually visit a dentist’s office, you ensure that your teeth are receiving the proper care and monitoring. When your dentist becomes familiar with your teeth and any problems you may have, they will have a much easier time of noticing any issues that may be actively developing. As a result, they will be able to suggest procedures and courses of action that mitigate the damage, pain, and most importantly, the financial costs of teeth repair.
Even if most people recognize the importance of visiting their dentist’s office regularly, they still fail to do so. Unfortunately, these people assume that regular visits to the dentist’s office only end up costing them lots of money without much return. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. When it comes to any sort of dentist’s visits, you should be aware of the secondary costs. Without regular visits, you put yourself open to the kinds of severe teeth problems that will only end up costing you even more in the end. In other words, both for your health and your finances, a bunch of small routine visits are far more preferable than delaying then having to go through with a major visit requiring all sorts of restorative dentistry.
3. Ask Your Dentist Office About Payment Plan Options
When it comes time to pay your bill for your dentistry visit, it’s never a bad idea to inquire about different payment plan options that may be available to you. Most dentist offices understand the fact that some patients may be unable to pay the entirety of their bill at the date of their visit. For this reason, they may be willing to offer you a structured payment plan that allows you to make weekly or monthly payments on your bill. Of course, not every single office will offer these kinds of flexible payment plans, so it never hurts to ask the office in advance. If you discover that your current dentist office doesn’t allow for any sort of payment plan, then it may be a good time to consider weighing your options and finding another provider to serve you and your family.
4. Consider Switching Your Health Insurance Policy
Many health insurance plans include some sort of policy when it comes to seeking out dental restoration procedures and other forms of care. However, many health insurance plans also dictate that policyholders must seek out another separate policy in order to cover the costs associated with visits to the dentist office in any capacity. As a result, you may want to consider shopping around for a health insurance policy that offers some sort of coverage for care related to the teeth and gums.
At the very least, you may discover that your current health insurance policy covers yearly visits to the dentist for routine cleaning. These cleanings may be enough to help you keep your teeth healthy without having to shell out any extra money. However, the risk with relying on such a minimal policy is that you may then end up being stuck with some big bills once it’s time to get dental bridges, or some other form of more intensive procedure. In any case, it never hurts to explore your current health insurance policy and see if you might be able to switch to one that is more fitting to your current situation in regards to the health of your teeth and gums. You can almost view this as another necessary part of keeping up on your preventative maintenance.
5. Don’t Rule Out Visits to a Dental School for Major Procedures
Major procedures can get quite pricey when it comes to your teeth and gums. As a result, many people may discover that it’s far more affordable for them to seek out alternative places for treatment. One such location is that of the dental school. Dental schools often have far lower rates, as they make use of dental students to perform common procedures such as wisdom teeth removal. Of course, you have to accept a slightly higher level of risk when you visit a dental school for a procedure. Procedures at the school are performed by dental students looking to enter the workforce. As a result, they have less experience than a professional dentist who has been working on patients for many years. Even so, in most cases, you don’t have anything to worry about as these students are eager to please their patients, and they have a team of experienced instructors by their side. Making use of a dental school is an excellent way to save some money while still receiving high-quality care.
6. See If Your Dentist Offers Discounts for Payments Made in Cash
Some dentist offices do not like having to wait for payments. The process of processing payments through an insurance policy can take months upon months in some cases. This is why many offices prefer to receive cash payments right there on the spot. As a result, these offices may be willing to offer you a discount if you can cover the cost of your visit with a cash payment on the same day. Even if you’re unsure about the costs associated with your visit, it never hurts to at least ask if the office is open to receiving a cash payment. In some cases, taking this route could lead to potentially significant savings for you and the rest of your family. Exploring your payment options is something that you will never regret. After all, you were already planning to pay for the visit anyway, so the worst the office can do is reject your request to pay with cash.
7. Make Use of an FSA or HSA
Your flexible spending account (FSA) and your health savings account (HSA) can be incredible tools to use when you’re in need of dental services, but you’re not able to afford them otherwise. These types of specialized health insurance accounts come with certain stipulations. While many expenses may not qualify under the rules that apply to these special health insurance accounts, there are a number of dental procedures that qualify for spending from such accounts.
As with any health insurance policy, it’s always wise to first comb through the specific rules that may or may not apply to your situation. It’s always better to do your research first to ensure that you’re receiving the proper treatments that fall in line with the terms outlined in the dental section of the policies. Rushing into care without first being certain in what charges you’re prepared to incur is a quick way to end up forking over a lot more money than you may have expected at first. After all, were you aware of the fact that bankruptcy filings hit an all-time high in 2005 when more than 2 million cases were started? In that year, one out of every 55 households filed for bankruptcy. You don’t want to be one of those households simply because you didn’t take the time to read up on your dental coverage policies for your FSA or HSA.
In any case, let’s take a quick look at some of the ways in which a flexible spending account or health savings account can benefit your wallet when it’s time to seek out dental care. With a flexible spending account, only certain teeth and gum procedures are eligible for spending. Some examples of eligible procedures include teeth bonding, root canals, teeth sealants, dentures, fillings, and more. Of course, you should browse the full list of eligible procedures before placing full confidence in your FSA account.
On a similar note, your health savings account also includes some eligible teeth and gum procedures. A health savings account also covers some intensive procedures, in addition to including more common dentist office visits as well. For example, under a health savings account, you may cover costs associated with standard dentist visits and teeth cleanings. But it also covers procedures such as root canals, dentures, extractions, fillings, and more. Using either an FSA or an HSA to cover your visits to the dentist office is yet another excellent way to save money on your teeth and gum care.
8. Modify Your Diet to Optimize Your Dental Health
Finally, it’s important to remember the types of factors and behaviors that impact the health of your teeth and gums the most. Sure, there are certain genetic problems and issues that are simply impossible to avoid for some people. However, in the vast majority of cases, people who have problems with their teeth will discover that there are a number of lifestyle changes they could have made in order to avoid and prevent damage to their teeth. One such change is that of their diet. We all know that the foods we eat are important to several aspects of our overall health, but many people fail to realize the connection that the foods you eat has to the health and wellness of your gums, tongue, and teeth.
Try as hard as you can to avoid foods that contain high amounts of refined sugar. This means avoiding candy, sweet desserts like cookies, cake, and ice cream, and common soft drink beverages. You may also be surprised by other regular items that contain high amounts of sugar, such as ketchup and other sandwich condiments. Being mindful of the sugar content of everything that you eat is the first step toward correcting your diet to be more healthy for your teeth and gums. Refined sugars are especially harmful to your teeth as they create plaque and tartar that can cause cavities and other forms of harm. These foods also slowly erode the enamel on your teeth, leaving them more prone to infections. Adjusting your diet to one containing plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and fiber will be one of the best ways to optimize the health of your teeth and gums.
Regardless of where you stand on your current dental health care routines, it’s helpful to know that you have options to improve your situation without breaking your budget at the same time. By practicing these tips and more, we hope we’ve helped you understand how you and your family can save some money while also maintaining optimal dental health! Good luck out there and don’t forget to brush your teeth!