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How to Make Dental Work Easier on Your Wallet


How to Make Dental Work Easier on Your Wallet

Getting major work done at the dentist can be expensive, especially if you don't have dental insurance. But because taking care of your teeth is so important, you don't want to avoid necessary dental work because of a price tag.

Here are some ways you might be able to cut the costs:

Buy Dental Insurance

If you're without dental coverage for any reason, consider buying dental insurance through a private insurance company. It will help make dental care more affordable for you, making it more likely you'll visit your dentist regularly. Good oral hygiene and regular dental checkups can help protect you from gum disease and its link to health conditions like heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Explore Different Plans

Compare the costs of different dental plans available to you. Consider things like monthly premiums, provider networks, deductibles, co-pays and coverage limits. Some plans have annual or lifetime maximums on the amount of benefits you can receive.

Do a Little Research, Which Could Include a Second Opinion

When your dentist wants to schedule an expensive procedure, don't make the appointment just yet. Do some research and get quotes from other dentists or oral surgeons. Or, you might want a second opinion on the proposed treatment.

Get a Pretreatment Estimate

When planning for dental work, ask your dentist to submit a pretreatment plan to your insurance company, who should be able to give you an estimate of which procedures will be covered and the benefits they'll pay. Even if you don't have dental insurance, ask for a pretreatment estimate. That won't lower the cost, but might help you plan for the expense.

Time It Right

If your plan has a limit on the amount of benefits you can receive in a year, ask your dentist if you can schedule any major procedures that require more than one appointment with extra time in between. Then have one treatment at the end of the policy year and the other at the beginning of the next year. That way, the payments will be made against two annual coverage limits rather than one. Better yet, look for a plan that doesn't have an annual maximum.

Ask About Payment Plans

Ask your dentist about payment plan options. You may be able to pay over the course of several months instead of having to pay a lump sum upfront.

Give Dental School Clinics a Try

Many dental schools offer affordable dental care from students who are overseen by skilled dental professionals. You can find a list of dental schools on the American Dental Association/Commission on Dental Accreditation website.

The key to paying less for major dental work is doing your research beforehand. Exploring all of your options gives you the tools to make an informed, cost-friendly decision. Apply some or all of these tips to keep both your teeth and your wallet happy.