Congratulations on retiring! If you’re like most new retirees, you’re reassessing your budget and making changes in daily (and annual) expenses to fit your fixed income. One thing that shouldn’t get brushed aside is your continuing dental care. Why? Because more people are keeping their natural smiles for years longer than the generations before us. Healthy teeth can help you maintain a balanced diet, avoid unwanted infections, and extend your quality of life.
Here are five ways that you can save on your dental expenses during your golden years:
1. Pay Out of Pocket for Preventive Care
If you’re between dental insurance policies, don’t skip your preventive care appointments. Visits like cleanings and exams help your dentist locate problems earlier and prevent other ones from having a chance to even develop.
Most dentists will give you a 5-8% discount on your appointment if you are paying in full on the same day as your visit. When you call to schedule your checkup, ask if there is a cash discount. Most dentists will say that they offer this courtesy.
2. Ask for a Senior Discount
Even if your dentist doesn’t offer a cash discount, he or she may offer a discount for senior patients. This may be as much as 15% off your bill! Such discounts can usually be applied toward any dental service.
3. Treat Problems Early
Regardless of your age, the very best way to keep your cost of dental care down is to treat your dental problems as soon as they’re diagnosed. A small filling isn’t just more comfortable than getting a crown a couple of years from now, it will extend the life of your tooth and cut your treatment costs by as much as 75%.
Unfortunately, the old saying “if it doesn’t hurt, don’t fix it” does not apply when it comes to your smile’s health. Many dental infections and diseases can be completely asymptomatic, even once they are severe. If it comes down to whether or not you trust your provider’s intentions, you may want to see another dentist for a free second opinion.
Delaying your treatment will only mean that it costs more time and money later to fix it. Even if you opt to pull the tooth, you’re left with needing to pay for a replacement bridge or partial denture. Don’t sacrifice your entire smile just because there isn’t a toothache yet.
4. Enroll in a Discount Dental Plan
Sometimes purchasing a discount dental plan is more affordable than enrolling in traditional dental insurance. With a discount plan, you get reduced fees on all procedures, with no claims to wait on. Plus, you can see any dentist who accepts the plan. There aren’t any waiting periods or exclusions, so you can see a dentist whenever you want.
5. Ask What Treatment Options Are Available
Some dentists recommend what they feel is best for the patient, without discussing alternatives that might be available. There is no harm in asking if there is a different course of treatment, especially if costs are involved. This includes not treating the problem at all.
As an example, you may decide that it’s better for you to get a small partial denture than to get an implant. Personal preferences and long-term goals have a huge part to play in your recommended treatment plan.
Like we mentioned before, it doesn’t hurt to shop around and get a second opinion. Some dentists just do not like performing certain types of procedures when others have no preference. Don’t necessarily go for the “cheapest” option, but do make sure that the treatment plan conforms to your short and long-term oral health needs.
What About Medicare?
Unfortunately, Medicare doesn’t automatically include dental coverage. Enrollees either have to buy into their own dental insurance or choose to go without it.
For people that haven’t had a lot of dental problems in the past, it might be more expensive to buy into an insurance policy than to be paying cash for your appointments. After covering all your preventive care appointments, you may still be paying more out of pocket once you sit down and crunch the numbers. That’s when a discount plan might be a better, more affordable option.
Investing in your smile’s health can help you reduce the risk of health problems like pneumonia, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and several others. It’s not just about looking good in the mirror! If you’re currently without dental coverage, speak to one of our savings experts to see if a discount dental plan is right for you and the coverage you need.