People spend almost $700 or more per year at the dentist’s office. Many of these procedures represent a significant financial burden to patients, according to the American Dental Association. If you count yourself among those who has trouble paying for a visit to the dentist’s office, take heart. There are many ways to save money on […]
People spend almost $700 or more per year at the dentist’s office. Many of these procedures represent a significant financial burden to patients, according to the American Dental Association. If you count yourself among those who has trouble paying for a visit to the dentist’s office, take heart. There are many ways to save money on dental care. Some require you to take preventative measures, and some require you to be a little financially savvy and to plan ahead. Here are seven ways you can save money at the dentist’s office.
1. Practice Daily Dental Care
One of the best ways to ensure that you spend less money at the dentist’s office is to practice a good regimen of daily oral hygiene, according to Consumer Reports. That means you should brush your teeth and floss them everyday. You should also avoid foods that damage your teeth like sodas and candies to name but a few.
Finally, you can strengthen your teeth from the inside out by eating foods that your teeth love. According to the Colgate website, if you want stronger teeth, try eating the following:
- Yogurt and cheese
- Leafy green veggies
- Carrots and celery
- And almonds
2. Get Regular Cleanings
Although regular cleanings may cost you some money initially, an article on the Balance Everyday reminds readers that regular cleanings – every six months to a year – can help you maintain healthy teeth. These cleanings can also catch or even prevent bigger dental issues. As the site points out, it’s likely that you’d rather pay for a filling than a root canal.
What to do if You Don’t Have Dental Insurance
3. Participate in Dental Studies
If you live near a major hospital or university, you might be able to participate in a dental medical study, according to Money Crashers. The upside to these procedures is that they include clinical trials for new procedures and drugs, which allows you to get some cutting edge treatment for free (and maybe even a stipend to go with it). The downside to going through a program like this is that it may not cover work you actually need done. It’s best to think of this option as a backup plan for other more viable treatment options.
4. Go to Dental Clinics and Schools
Dental clinics and schools allow you to get dental work done at a fraction of the normal cost. Normally, these clinics or schools are associated with a bigger organization. Sometimes, these organizations are hospitals or dental schools associated with a university.
The people helping you can either be dentists, who choose to work in underprivileged communities or dental students, who need practice hours in order to get their dental license. The dental students work under the supervision of a qualified dentist to ensure that the work is done properly.
This is the route to go when you need more expensive treatments like orthodontia. According to Woman’s Day,you’ll pay about half of what you’d pay at a regular orthodontist’s office to get those braces on your 10-year-old by going the dental school route.
5. Look Into Dental Discount Plans
Discount dental plans allow you to save between 15% and 60% on your regular dental costs. Many of these reduced-rate dental plans can be found in your area by logging onto DentalPlans.com.
6. Explore Financing Options
If your regular dentist offers financing options, be sure to check into those. These allow you to pay for your dental work in increments that are friendlier to your wallet than having to pay the bill in one fell swoop.
Sometimes, your dentist will even offer these plans with low- or no-interest financing. You might even be able to increase your savings by offering to barter with your dentist. For example, if your dentist needs an afternoon receptionist, offer to work the post until your dental services are paid in full. Other types of bartering include creating content for the dentist’s blog or designing a website to help the dentist get more local traffic.
Additionally, ask your dentist or orthodontist to put your finance plans in writing. Talk to him/ her about each aspect of the treatment and see if there is a cheaper alternative. For example, if you need braces, it’s important to know that ceramic braces or Invisalign cost more than the plain old, unglamorous metal bracket braces.
7. Use Coupons
Websites like Groupon will often offer coupons for dental and medical services. Before you pay the full amount for your next dental procedure, be sure to look on Groupon and other coupon sites to see if you can get a discount. You might wind up savings hundreds of dollars on your trips to the dentists just by doing a simple web search.
Final Thoughts on Saving Money at the Dentist’s Office
Saving money at the dentist’s office requires some strategic planning. First, you should do everything you can to prevent major dental issues in the first place by practicing good oral hygiene.
Second, if a trip to the dentist’s office is unavoidable, look into ways you can save money once you get there. Getting work done at a dental school or using coupons are just some of the ways that you can save money on dental costs. To take advantage of these types of offerings, be sure to do your homework and ask your dentist to itemize every recommended treatment so that you can save money in the long run.