5 Ways to Save Money On Dental Costs

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Dental care can be expensive, but there are ways you can save.

Need a root canal? That can cost you upwards of $600. A filling? Between $75 and $300, depending on the material used. And a regular cleaning with X-rays runs around $200. If you’re lucky enough to have dental insurance, some of these costs are covered. If you don’t, however, these prices may be hard to chew.

But you don’t need to stop smiling. Here are five ways to reduce your dental care costs.

  1. Talk with your dentist. If you need an expensive procedure, be honest with your dentist about your financial situation. A temporary fix may work until you have the necessary funds, or you may be able to do the procedure in phases that you can pay for along the way.
  2. Discuss payment options. Rather than put dental care costs on your credit card, which could charge hefty interest rates, ask your dentist if you can work out a payment plan. Or, if you can, offer to pay upfront in cash, and ask for a discount. Dentists may discount the total cost by 5 percent if paid in cash.
  3. Purchase a dental discount plan. Affordable dental plans are available for those who don’t have dental insurance through work. Yearly costs average around $100 for individual plans, which cover cleanings, fillings, crowns, check-ups and more when you visit dentists in your plan’s network. Find plans in your area at DentalPlans.com.
  4. Go to a dental school. You need discounted dental care, and dental students need practice. And there’s no need to worry—all care is provided under the supervision of a licensed dentist or dental hygienist. Check out the American Dental Association’s website for dental schools in your area.
  5. Research free or low-cost options. Help is available for low-income individuals, both through the public and private sector. Many dentists will provide free services or will base their fees on what you can pay. Your local chapter of the United Way may have information on reduced-cost dental services in your area. Government organizations provide assistance as well. The Bureau of Primary Health Care (part of the Health Resources and Services Administration) supports community health centers that provide free or reduced-cost health-care services, including dental care. And if you’re a parent, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) can provide dental services to qualified children.
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While all these tips will help you save on dental care costs, you’ll save the most by taking good, regular care of your teeth. Brush your teeth at least twice a day with toothpaste that contains fluoride. Floss and use a mouth rinse on a daily basis. Avoid sugary foods and drinks in favor of nutritious foods like cheese, fruits, vegetables and plain yogurt. And, if you can, be sure to have two dental check-ups each year.

This article contains general information.

Source: Frugal Living, Fox Business, Money Crashers, WebMD, American Dental Association, National Institutes of Health
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