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Dental Visit Advice

Dental care is as essential to well being as eating nutritious foods, exercising and drinking water. Despite that fact, statistics have indicated that fewer individuals have paid to see the dentist over the past few years due to economic influences including lack of dental insurance and the limited benefits paid by insurance providers. Fortunately, there are several creative ways individuals can get the dental care they seek for pennies on the dollar.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 45 million Americans do not have any type of dental insurance. The news is troubling as many experts (including those at 1-800-DENTIST) suggest that dental insurance coverage is the leading indicator for one’s access to dental care.

Thanks to the current economic landscape, even those with dental insurance are struggling to pay the bills associated with maintaining dental health as while the cost of dental care has continued to rise, throughout the insurance industry most benefits are capped at around $1,500 (the approximate amount for one dental cleaning, exam and root canal). That ceiling has influenced the fact that in 2009, 30 percent of individuals with dental insurance skipped going to the dentist as a money saving move (2009 Harris Interactive/HealthDay Poll).

Those factors are contributing to the sad statistics regarding the nation’sdental health. The Centers for Disease Control and prevention has cited tooth decay as being the most prevalent (and preventable) childhood disease plaguing the nation. Adults are not much better off as while they may have fewer cavities than their younger counterparts, the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) has suggest that 75 percent of all adults are walking around with untreatedgum disease. Luckily individuals suffering from these dental problems can still get the professional dental care they need.

Ask Your Dentist

The relationship between patient and dentist is an intimate one that involves an oral exam, embarrassing conversations about oral hygiene and even true confessions from the soul (IE “I only floss once a week). For some individuals, this relationship has been built on years of trust and familiarity and since the relationship is a two-way street, patients should explain their financial situation to their dentist in hopes of negotiating a better deal or even to get some leeway in paying off the bills.

First and foremost, dentists are human beings and as such, they can empathize with many situations included those caused by money. Because of the economy, the odds are currently in the favor of a patient that a dentist may be willing to negotiate on amount and payment terms of dental care as they rather keep a long-time patient instead of losing them over a couple of bucks. Individuals should talk to the dental office staff about money prior to getting any type of dental care, as after the fact there will be very little wiggle room (if any at all).

Volunteer to be a Guinea Pig

Once upon a time all dentists were once struggling dental students studying their craft. Although some schools may allow their students to practice some basics on life-like sex dolls, the best training for future dentists is hands on and requires a person made of flesh, bones and teeth. Individuals looking to get dental care on a budget simply need to volunteer to be a patient.

This strategy still requires a financial investment from a patient, however because the process will take longer, (as the learning process is extremely detailed) dental schools offer substantial savings (up to 50 percent) for the dental treatments the students implement. Ultimately that can result in paying hundreds instead of thousands of dollars on dental work including root canal, oral surgery, filings, crowns, bridges and dentures. Volunteers need not worry as a professional dentist will be on staff monitoring the students work and who can jump in to assist if something goes array.

Dental Discount Plan

Dental discount plans have been around for decades as an alternative to costly dental insurance. Unlike the latter, a discount plan is relatively inexpensive and has no monthly premiums (in some cases individuals can buy an annual discount dental plans for under $50). Once that enrollment has been activated and individuals choose to visit a dentist who is a member of a particular plan, patients can enjoy dental discounts ranging from 10 percent to 60 percent. Additionally, discount dental plans may also provide discounts for optional cosmetic dentistry (insurance will never pay for that).

Regardless of what strategy you want to implement to save money on dental care, regular dentist visits (even those that need to be paid in full) will result in savings in the long run. Industry insiders all proclaim that preventative dentistry is less expensive than restorative care in the long run.

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