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7 Ways to Save Money on Expensive Dental Procedures

>> Jan 17, 2019

Going to the dentist can cost a small fortune. Between the rising costs of care and the increasingly available technology for dental procedures, it can be hard to figure out what you can and can’t afford. While more people have dental insurance now than in the past, the average cost of a visit is still quite high comparably. Fortunately, a little insight is all that you need to save money on your dental work, no matter what procedures you need done.
Prevention and Proactive Habits

The best way to save money on costly dental work is to not even need it in the first place. If you are able to practice good oral hygiene and schedule regular cleanings and dental care, you may never need to worry about root canals, implants, crowns, partials, or expensive oral surgery procedures. Brush and floss regularly according to the ADA guidelines, and talk to your dentist about creating an oral care plan to keep your teeth in good shape for as long as possible.

Get Insured

While dental insurance will not cover every single expense that you may incur, it can cover a lot of the costs of routine dental care, including those expensive procedures that you need done. If your employers offer dental coverage, sign up. If they don’t, look for an insurance plan on your own. It is actually quite affordable, and definitely more affordable than paying for all of the dental work that you need out of pocket. There are some health plans in the ACA marketplace that include dental coverage. Some people can also get coverage from Medicaid or the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Check Out Discount Plans

Dental discount plans are not dental insurance. They are, however, a great way to save money on dental procedures. These savings plans usually include an annual fee for membership, which grants members discounted pricing at a huge network of dentists. Some offer as much as 50% off services if you belong to a discount plan or service. This is usually a one-time expense that can be more feasible than insurance. It can also offer additional coverage for those who are already insured and simply want more protection from high out-of-pocket costs.

Ask Questions about What is Necessary

While a dentist is highly trained in his or her field, that doesn’t mean that they are the final word on what dental procedures you need done. Feel free to speak up, especially if cost is a concern, when a dentist suggests work that may be more expensive than you are comfortable with. Today’s dentists are much more willing to work with patients to find affordable solutions. Ask what alternatives are available, if any, to an expensive procedure that is recommended. Talk about your treatment plan and find out what needs done first. Some professionals refer to this as a triage -- assess what dental procedures are urgent, which can wait, and what temporary solutions might be available to help you avoid big bills if you are on a tight budget at the current time.

Check out Dental Schools and Community Health Centers

Both of these locations offer a lot of low-cost alternatives to traditional dental offices. While you may not be able to see your preferred dentist, you will be able to get a significant savings on work that you have done. Dental schools, in particular, are a great resource. They offer big discounts on dental procedures done by students who are still under faculty supervision. Plus, in addition to saving money, you are helping students complete their training and improve their skills in their profession.

Use Your FSA or HSA

Most employers today offer a flexible spending account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA) option to their employees as a part of their medical insurance plan. This is money that is automatically deducted from your paychecks and put into a special account that can only be used for medical purposes. If you are facing serious dental work, such as needing a partial or implants, you can curb your out-of-pocket expense by utilizing whatever funds you have in this account.

Ask About Payment Plans and Cash Discounts

If dental insurance and discount plans aren’t enough, or if you are unable to obtain these things, you do have one more option to get more affordable dental work. A lot of providers offer cash discounts for patients who pay up front and cover the expense out-of-pocket. Not only does this save them credit card processing fees, but they don’t have to worry about billing insurance providers or chasing you down for payment. Therefore, they may be willing to pass the savings along to you.

In lieu of a straight discount, you can also inquire about payment plan arrangements that you can make with your dentist. Ask them if you can make a partial payment now and set up future payments so that you don’t have to cover the huge expense at one time. More dentists are open to this option than you think. After all, their main goal is helping you get the dental care that you need.

The Bottom Line

If you have been putting off expensive dental procedures because you don’t have the money, you no longer have to avoid the dentist. Even with insurance, procedures like oral surgery can get quite expensive, so it is important to have options. Make sure that you talk to your provider about the work that you need done as well as your financial situation to come up with an effective treatment plan. Whatever you do, don’t avoid the dentist just because of the expense, because you have plenty of ways to make even the most expensive procedures more affordable. Contact us today to learn how Morgan Street Dental Dentist can help.

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