Everyone deserves a healthy, beautiful smile. Unfortunately, dental care costs keep many people from visiting a dentist on a regular basis.
Dental insurance helps make dental care affordable for many. But dental insurance plans can have quite a few drawbacks, too. Dental insurance can have limited coverage for pre-existing conditions, long wait times before coverage begins, expensive up-front payments and other issues.
Plus, dental insurance is often provided by an employer. If you’re unemployed or self-employed, dental insurance might not be a viable option.
Fortunately, other options are available. Let’s take a look at some ways you can get dental treatment without dental insurance:
Dental Work Done By Students
Dental schools offer a wide range of dental procedures at a reduced cost. The work is performed by upper-level students who are strictly supervised by a fully licensed dentist or hygienist.
The downside is wait times. You might need to schedule an appointment several months in advance. Plus, the actual procedures can take extra time because each phase of the work will need to be approved by the dental teacher.
Dental school procedures require patience in the chair. But potentially saving hundreds of dollars often makes the wait worthwhile.
The American Dental Association has a free list of accredited dental programs available throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Ask Your Dentist About Available Options
Dentists understand many people have concerns about payment. Don’t be afraid to explain your current financial situation and ask what options might be available.
Many dentists offer cash discounts. A patient who pays cash is almost always easier than dealing with an insurance company, so dentists offer a discount due to the simplicity of the transaction.
If you need a complicated procedure, ask if each visit can be spaced out of a longer period of time. This lets you pay as you go over a period of months, which is often more affordable than one large bill.
Dental Tourism Is An Option, But…
Some people leave the U.S. in order to have dental procedures performed in other countries. The savings on the dental visit is actually so significant than the patient saves even when accounting for travel expenses. Mexico is an especially popular destination for dental tourism.
Finding safe, high-quality dentistry abroad is certainly possible. But there are quite a few risks, too. Thoroughly research the dental standards of the area you plan to visit. Also, understand you might not have much recourse if the dental work doesn’t turn out like you expected.
Save with a Dental Savings Plan
Also called a dental discount plan, this is a low-cost alternative to dental insurance which covers a wide variety of dental procedures. Joining a dental savings plan gives you unlimited access to instant discounts at over 100,000 dental providers located across the country.
Dental discount plans make saving easy. You simply show your plan card to the receptionist before the procedure. Depending on the type of plan you have, and the type of procedure performed, you could see savings of 15% to 50%. With a dental plan, you don’t have to fill out any paperwork or wait for reimbursement.
Plans can offer savings on many different types of procedures including cleanings, dental implants, cosmetic treatments and more. You can always change your plan at any time based on your needs.
Many dental discount plans offer other health benefits, too. Plans can include additional savings on prescriptions, vision and/or hearing care.
Focus on Prevention
Finally, reduce your risk of needing complicated dental treatments by committing to at-home dental health. Brush your teeth for at least two minutes twice a day. Floss regularly (or at least use floss sticks). Avoid smoking, soft drinks and other dental hazards.
Preventative dental care involves regular cleanings and exams. The idea is to keep your teeth healthy and prevent any small problems from growing larger.
Many dental savings plans offer pretty substantial discounts on preventative treatments. After all, preventative treatments today help reduce the need for complicated (and expensive) dental repairs in the future. Using a dental discount plan to save on dental check-ups is a great way to keep your teeth and mouth healthy for life.