5 Ways to Save on Dental Bills

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Someone wise once said,“Take care of your teeth, and your teeth will take care of you.” And it’s true. Going to the dentist for regular checkups is an important way to take care of your teeth, and can go a long way in preventing bigger dental issues down the road. Yet for many, the dental bill is as intimidating as the dental chair: The average American paid $544 in out-of-pocket dental expenses in 2013, according to a recent report from the American Dental Association’s Health Policy Institute. So how can you give your teeth the attention they deserve — and keep costs down? Here are 5 tips to help. 

1.Brush Twice a Day, Go Twice a Year

While parents impress upon their kids to brush twice a day, around 50% of adults don’t practice what they preach. Inconsistent brushing can lead to cavities and gum issues that can be costly, so sticking to a brushing and flossing routine can keep your mouth healthy and procedure-free.

 

Another way to save? Go in for your regular cleanings. This gives your hygienist the chance to clean in ways you can’t, and for your dentist to find small problems before they become bigger ones. After all, filling a cavity is much less expensive than the root canal, crown or extraction it can turn into — if not treated.

2.Go to a Dental School

For dental emergencies or regular cleanings, you can get big discounts at a dental school or dental program. All students are supervised by their instructors during each routine, so your teeth are still in the hands of a professional. Find out which dental school you live closest to by browsing the complete list on the Commission on Dental Accreditation website.

3.See a New Dentist

There are two ways a trip to a new dentist can help you save:

 

  • Many dental practices offer special discounts to attract new patients, from free exams and cleanings to credits on advanced procedures. Make the switch to a participating practice, and you could qualify for up to 30% in savings.
  • If your dentist recommends an expensive procedure, request a treatment plan and see a new dentist for a second opinion. Bringing them your treatment plan can help them understand what procedures are being proposed, which can mean getting a more accurate or competitive quote.

4.Negotiate with Your Dentist

No need to assume your dentist’s costs are fixed. There may be a little wiggle room by asking for discounts:

 

  • Many dental practices accept cash payments in exchange for discounts because they get paid upfront — and don’t have to file insurance claims. Start by asking your dentist to give you the same discount they give insurance companies, and negotiate from there.
  • Use the same dental practice for your whole family, and you may be eligible to receive discounts on your visits.

5.Change Out Your Toothbrush

Regular brushing is important, but after a while, all of that work wears out your toothbrush. If you use a manual toothbrush, it’s recommended you replace it every three months to ensure the bristles are still working to remove plaque and fight decay.

 

Or, consider changing your brush altogether. Switching to a battery-powered toothbrush can give you even more cleaning power. ARM & HAMMER Spinbrush™ Pro Clean Battery-Powered Brush removes 70% more plaque in hard-to-reach places*; just hold the bristles lightly against the surface of your teeth, angle the brush head slightly so it reaches under the gum line, and let those bristles do all the work. And just as with a manual brush, change out your replacement brush heads every three months.

A trip to the dentist doesn’t need to put a dent (or dentures) in your wallet if you know these cost-saving tips. And remember: sticking to a brushing and flossing regimen is always your best defense against major bills in the future.

 

 

*vs. a manual brush. Data on file. Assumes brushing twice per day, for 2 minutes each time.

 

 

 

• Is dental insurance worth the cost?

http://www.bankrate.com/finance/insurance/dental-insurance-1.aspx

• The Per Patient Cost of Dental Care, 2013: A Look Under the Hood

http://www.ada.org/~/media/ADA/Science%20and%20Research/HPI/Files/HPIBrief_0316_4.pdf

• Oral Hygiene Statistics

http://www.statisticbrain.com/oral-hygiene-statistics/

• Is Going to the Dentist Too Costly? 6 Ways to Save

https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/health/save-going-to-the-dentist/

• Torabi, Farnoosh. "Dental Expenses: 4 Smart Tricks to Save Money." CBSNews. CBS Interactive, n.d. Web. 29 July 2013.

• David. "7 Ways to Save Money on Dental Care & Bills." My Two Dollars RSS. N.p.,n.d. Web. 29 July 2013.

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