3 Effective Tips for Affordable Dental Care
Whenever you talk about dental care, you have to talk about cost as well. Everyone understands that it is important to take care of their teeth, but every year, millions of Americans don’t go to the dentist simply because they think they won’t be able to afford it. While it’s true that dental care can be a major investment in the long-term health of both you and your family, there are a few simple ways to DRASTICALLY reduce the cost of your appointments, and we are going to go over them today. After reading this, you’ll easily be able to save thousands on dental care every year.
1. The Key to Low-Cost Dentistry is Prevention
Literally, the number one way to keep your dental care costs low is by focusing on prevention.
This is so important that we’re actually going to repeat it!
By far, the best way to make your dental care more affordable is to focus on prevention.
What does this mean? It means that the best way to keep your dental costs low is by simply taking care of your teeth at home. This consists of brushing and flossing every day as well as watching the sugar in your diet. These are the most important things you can do to keep your smile healthy and looking great year after year, and it’ll save you from having to get expensive dental procedures to repair your teeth over time.
It also means that instead of waiting for a dental problem to pop up and then going to the dentist, you should go routinely in order to prevent that problem from occurring in the first place. Regular checkups and cleanings allow your dentist to stop many issues before they develop and treat those you have before they can really damage your smile.
Of course, while this might all sound well and good, you’re probably saying, “I wish I could do this, but isn’t going to the dentist regularly still expensive?”
Time for some hard numbers.
A standard preventive visit consisting of a dental cleaning, exam, and set of x-rays will cost you about $150-$200, and most dentists recommend that everyone have at least 2 per year. So, at the high end, you’re talking about spending $400 over the course of 12 months. In the scheme of things, this is a relatively affordable amount of money, especially when you consider the alternative: restorative care.
Restorative dentistry is used to repair teeth that are broken, decayed, or missing. Basically, it’s used to fix all those dental problems that occur when a person doesn’t take care of their teeth or visit the dentist regularly, and these procedures tend to be MUCH MORE expensive than standard preventive care.
For example, should you develop a minor dental problem like a small cavity because you haven’t been brushing or flossing consistently, your dentist will likely treat it using a filling. How much will that cost? About $200-$300. That means you’re spending more to fix a single tooth than on a preventive appointment that would help all of your teeth.
Let’s say you ignore that small cavity and it turns into a large cavity that requires a dental crown. How much will it cost to fix your tooth then? About $1,200.
That means you’re spending the equivalent of 3 years’ worth of checkups and cleanings just to repair a single tooth.
And, should you put off going to the dentist for so long that you one day wake up with extreme dental pain and need attention immediately, an emergency appointment can easily cost you thousands as well.
In the end, the biggest key to keeping your dental costs low is to simply take care of your teeth proactively. Brushing and flossing cost next to nothing, and standard preventive appointments only cost a few hundred dollars a year as opposed to thousands.
Of course, your preventive care could be even cheaper if you have dental insurance, which leads us to…
2. How to Save with Dental Insurance
Dental insurance is also one of the main ways people can save at their dental appointments. Many people get it through their employer while others have their own standalone plans.
Dental insurance differs from traditional medical insurance in that it (tying into what we just talked about) is mainly focused on prevention. The benefits are usually structured to cover standard checkups and cleanings much more than fillings, crowns, and other restorative procedures.
In fact, most dental insurance plans cover preventive services 100% while only covering restorative services about 50-70% (depending on the plan).
Your average dental insurance plan in Colorado costs about $40 a month in premiums for individuals and $120 for a family of 4. This means, just by going in for your 2 preventive appointments each year, the plan will practically pay for itself as well as save you from having to pay thousands in out of pocket costs for restorative procedures. It’s helpful in the fact that it breaks up the cost of your care into smaller monthly payments as opposed to one lump sum whenever you come in for an appointment. Speaking of which…
3. Look for Affordable Financing Options
Let’s say you can’t afford a dental insurance plan, your employer doesn’t offer one, or you need a procedure that isn’t covered…what do you do then?
Most practices can also offer low to no interest financing through a third-party financer like CareCredit. With a CareCredit plan, for example, the cost of your care will be broken up into much smaller monthly payments. They typically don’t include any upfront costs, annual fees, or prepayment penalties. Ideally, these plans are only used when you need extensive dental work or an elective procedure (like a cosmetic treatment) and not for standard visits, though they do provide an alternative if you’re unable to pay out of pocket.
Your Low-Cost Dentist in Longmont
As a family owned and operated dental practice, the team at Longmont Complete Dentistry fully understands just how important affordability is when it comes to dental care. That’s why we always encourage our patients to come in for regular preventive appointments and work with their insurance providers to get the most out of their benefits. With us, our goal is to see our patients just a few times a year for short, easy, and inexpensive appointments rather than involved, expensive ones. With this approach, we not only help our patients preserve their smiles, but their wallets as well.
If you’d like to know more about how we can help you keep your dental care costs low here in Longmont, please contact us today. We’re more than happy to talk about how these strategies can be applied to your particular situation.