An unaffordable price tag keeps more and more North Americans out of the dentist’s chair every year. And with limited access to insurance, many say there’s no way they can afford the full cost of a dental professional. A recent report suggests ~35% of Americans avoid dentists because of costs.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of recommendations to help you maintain a healthy smile without blowing your budget. Here are several ways to save money on dental care!
Practice Preventative Dental Care
This is perhaps one of the best ways to limit your spending on dental care. Prevention can go a long way towards ensuring you don’t have to spend more than you should on your dental bills each year. Many people don’t practice preventative measures which cause their dental bills to skyrocket. Our recommendation? An electric toothbrush.
For some, the cost of going electric is often a turn off; however, electric toothbrushes are much improved and more accessible than ever before. Our take? Given the distinct benefits of electric toothbrushes, adding one to your oral healthcare routine is an excellent investment and could really benefit your overall health. Looking for an affordable but nevertheless excellent option? Check out the Brüush Electric Toothbrush.
Not only should you practice good brushing and flossing habits, but you should also schedule visits to the dentist a minimum of twice per year.
Watch Your Diet
Believe it or not, but your diet can play a crucial role in your dental health. Many assume dental problems are solely genetic. There are several things you can do with your diet to improve your dental health. This includes both avoiding certain foods and beverages and getting more healthy choices in your diet. For one, you should be looking to avoid sugary beverages and foods. If you must partake in these cavity-inducing items, it’s best to practice preventative measures—like maintaining the recommended brushing routine as well as flossing.
For sodas and sugary beverages, drink with a straw. That way, you keep exposure to your teeth to a minimum. For foods, you’ll want to increase your saliva after eating by chewing sugar-free gum and always rinse your mouth out. After all, saliva production is meant to counteract the negative effects of acid on your teeth. If possible, brush and floss after consuming sugary foods.
To keep your teeth strong, you’ll want to incorporate more calcium in your diet—consume more dairy, fresh vegetables, and high-quality protein. Unfortunately, you won’t get adequate levels of vitamin D through diet alone—include a vitamin D supplement.
Make Use of HSAs and FSAs
If possible, you’ll want to tap into your Health Savings Account (HSA) or your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) with your employer. This can be a good resource because you’ll be able to put in money pre-tax—which can help you lessen the total cost of your dental expenses. This can be advantageous if you’re looking to cut some of the costs associated with your dental and health care spending. However, you do have to be certain you’re using it all at the end of the year or it will vanish.
Consider Dental Insurance
This one could save you money or it could end up costing you more money over a year. Unfortunately, dental insurance can be very expensive. Because of this, it could put you in the red when you add everything up at the end of the year. The only way you will be able to figure out if dental insurance makes “cents” for you is by adding up the estimated costs on your own. Figure out how much your dentist charges out of pocket for all of their services. That way, you can estimate the services you would use throughout any given year.
While you won’t be able to accurately predict all of your dental requirements every time, you should be able to come to a good general conclusion of the services you normally require. This will give you a good range to consider when you’re trying to figure out if dental insurance would save you money or cost you more in the long run. For those who are constantly dealing with significant dental problems, you should opt for dental insurance. After all, even a single major procedure could end up making the high monthly premiums worth it.
Ask for a Cash Discount
Sometimes, saving money is as easy as asking for it. If you find yourself without dental insurance, you may want to go this route. Keep in mind, your dentist will pay credit card processing fees if you pay with plastic. Because of this, you can generally get a solid 5% discount by simply asking. You may even be able to get more of a discount if you’re willing to pay the total balance upfront in cash. After all, money now is worth more than money later. Because not everyone makes on-time payments, having a full cash offer can be hard to resist for a lot of dentists.
Go to a Dental School
One creative way to maximize your savings potential is by going to a dental school. Visiting a dental school can be a great way to get even more extensive procedures at a discounted rate. After all, the work will be performed by dental students. Because of this, they’ll be both willing and able to extend a fairly significant discount. Luckily, the procedures will be monitored by instructors who are professionals. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about getting really poor-quality dental work even from students.
Regular visits to a dental health professional will cut down on your costs, but if you really want to save money, you need to stay on top of your teeth. Brush at least twice a day, floss, and replace your toothbrush as often as recommended (or invest in an electric toothbrush). Observing these good habits will add up to less time spent in the dentist’s chair, and less money spent.