General dentistry can be expensive, but luckily, there are all kinds of ways to save money on dental costs. Check out the following ideas. You may even be able to combine more than one of these ideas to get the ultimate level of savings.
1. Focus on Preventative Care
One of the easiest ways to save money on dental care is to never get a cavity. That isn't possible for most people, but if you focus on preventative care, you definitely lower your chances of getting a cavity or needing other dental work.
Ideally, preventative care should include brushing at least twice a day, and flossing is also essential to prevent the buildup of bacteria between your teeth. If possible, schedule regular cleanings and dental appointments.
That way, if your general dentist sees a cavity, he or she can fill the cavity while it's small. If the cavity were allowed to grow, the decay may get into your roots — root canals are much more expensive than regular fillings.
2. Check Out Expanded Medicaid
If you live in one of the states that offers expanded Medicaid, you may want to see if you qualify. Under the expansion, many people with median incomes are able to access these services, and if you were denied for having too high of an income in the past, you may be surprised at how much the income restraints have changed in many areas.
Some states only offer emergency dental care for adults through Medicaid. However, that can help a lot to offset the cost of emergency extractions. Other states offer more comprehensive care for adults, and that may include fillings, root canals, and cleanings. That can be a great way to save money on dental treatment.
3. Look Into a Dental Savings Plan
If you don't qualify for Medicaid, you may want to look into a private dental savings plan. There are a variety of plans on the marketplace, but they tend to work relatively the same.
Basically, you pay an annual or monthly membership fee. In exchange, the service qualifies you for discounts. The discounts vary depending on the plan and the procedures you need.
In some cases, there may be restrictions on when you can use the service. For example, some plans may require you to be a member for a certain amount of time before you can access the discounts. In other cases, only certain dentists may participate in the plan. Check on those details before signing up.
4. Try Going to a Dental School
In many cases, dental schools also offer low-cost treatment. If you have a major university in your town, see if they have a dental school. Then, contact the school and see if they accept patients from the community.
If you decide to go to a dental school, make sure that the students can handle the services you need. In most cases, a professional dentist or an instructor from the dental school will look over the work to ensure everything is done correctly.
Be aware that because students are handling the process, that there may be delays. Students work slowly and steadily to ensure that they have done everything correctly. As a result, you need to carve out a larger chunk of your day to get care from a student, but that extra time can be helpful for your budget.
5. Skip the Nitrous Oxide
When arranging dental work, you may want to consider skipping the nitrous oxide. That is a gas that you inhale to relax you, and many insurers don't cover it. To save some money, you can skip the nitrous oxide and relax with meditation instead. Of course, you should never skip the novocaine -- most insurers cover it, and even if they don't, that local anesthesia is essential.
For more tips on saving money, contact a general dentistry clinic directly. They may offer payment plans, cash discounts, or other strategies to help you save.