Dental expenses can get costly, especially if you have frequent problems or need braces to correct an overbite. Even regular maintenance can require some hefty co-pays, but there are some ways that you can minimize your out of pocket costs and spend less on your teeth without compromising your oral care. By learning about better financial options, you can keep your teeth and gums healthy without breaking your bank account.
Shop Around for Insurance
Just like any other product, dental insurance comes in a broad range of choices. When looking for dental insurance coverage, it’s a good idea to keep a pen and pad nearby so that you can take notes. Write down the monthly premiums and the coverage for each policy, so you can compare them later and determine which policy is giving you the most coverage for the price. The most expensive policy isn’t always the best policy, so it’s essential to choose the policy that offers the most desirable coverage package.
Shop for Dentists, Too
Once you have insurance, it’s time to search for a dentist and orthodontist. It can be a mistake to go to the dentist down the street, just because that’s what your family has always done. There are several factors that go into selecting the right dentist for you, especially if you’re trying to keep your expenses to a minimum. While you’re doing this, it’s also wise, especially if you have children, to look for a reliable and affordable orthodontist. According to this Calgary orthodontists’ website, orthodontists help with procedures like braces, Invisalign, and other teeth alignment services, but they also assist with adjusting jaws and other mouth related problems. For quality, check online reviews to find out what other patients are saying and personally visit the dentist’s office. Sometimes you can even have a consultation visit free of charge, it’s usually not very long, but you can think of it as sort of an interview to see if they feel right. While you’re there, ask about payment policies and if the office extends interest-free credit to its patients. You should also ask if they offer discounts for cash payments. In many cases, the dentist may be willing to offer a discount for cash payments, because it means they won’t have to file an insurance claim.
Get Treated at a Dental School
Dental school students need patients to practice on, so colleges are always eager to take on new patients. The cost of care is typically lower than the fees charged by professional and established dentists, though the dental school students have access to the same state of the art technology and are governed by the same high standards. In some cases, the care you receive at a dental school may be superior than that which you would receive from a private practitioner because a private dentist will have to buy his own equipment. Dental students are supervised by qualified and experienced instructors so that patients can feel at ease, during any treatments.
Start an HSA
An HSA, or health savings account, is a special account that takes pre-tax deposits, which can be used for medical expenses. Many people don’t realize that, under the rules established by the I.R.S., funds in an HSA can also be used to pay for dental care, according to an article on NerdWallet. Under the rules, qualifying expenses are those that pay for services that include diagnosis, as well as treatments or cures for any conditions that affect the body.
Additionally, treatments to prevent or mitigate a condition may also be covered by your HSA funds. If that’s not clear enough, the IRS specified dental coverage in their publication #502, which states that health savings account funds can be used to alleviate or prevent any dental diseases. This would include the commonly accepted dental procedures from cleanings and X-rays to fluoride treatments, root canals, extractions, dentures, and so on.
Get a Second Opinion
Each dentist operates his or her office by their own rules, which means procedures may be done differently, payment terms may vary, and costs may differ. All of these factors can help you save money without compromising your care. When complex procedures are concerned, you should consider getting a second opinion anyway to ensure you’ll receive the best treatment for your condition. Why not use the opportunity to try to save money?
See Your Dentist Regularly
You may scoff at the idea that your dentist wants to see you every six months, thinking they’re using that as an excuse to bilk more money out of you. In fact, the opposite is true. Spending the comparatively small expense of two office visits per year is much better than letting dental problems go unnoticed until extensive procedures have to be performed. The reason your dentist wants to see you twice a year is so problems can be identified early on and corrected before they worsen. It’s easier for him and cheaper for you to drill and fill a small cavity than to perform a full root canal or extraction later on.
Taking the time to research your insurance provider and your dentist can save you a great deal of money in the long run. Considering the rising cost of health care, it’s important for every household to save whenever possible. This means making smarter decisions about your dental care and ensuring your teeth remain healthy and strong for longer.