Dental Savings that Will Keep You Smiling
Dental savings are important when it comes to maintaining a healthy smile in a challenging economy. Sky Ortho works hard to find creative ways to help you save on your beautiful smile. To learn more about how Sky Ortho can help you with financial solutions for your orthodontic needs, read our special financing section, and feel free to contact us to learn more. You can maintain a healthy smile without blowing your budget. Here are several more ways to save money on dental care.
Dental Savings Begin with Regular Professional Cleanings
Did you know that cleaning your teeth once every six months or a minimum of once annually can help prevent expensive dental problems? Not only does it clean up decay and plaque before they cause serious issues, but it also helps identify problems early. Early identification helps avoid expensive repairs later. For example, filling a cavity is much easier, less intrusive, and less expensive than doing a root canal, a crown, or an extraction.
Triage to Spread Out Dental Expenditures
Triage is the assignment of a degree of urgency to your needs. If money is tight, ask your dentist or orthodontist how best to prioritize the work that needs to be done. When you need more dental work than you can afford, it can be overwhelming. Your dentist or orthodontist can advise about which procedures need to be done right away, and which can be put off for a little while. Make a list and get estimates. Work out a schedule. Sometimes there may be temporary fixes to hold you over until a more permanent fix can be done.
Purchase a Dental or Orthodontic Discount Plan
Not all employers offer dental insurance, and even when they do, the premiums are sometimes more than you’re willing to pay. In such a situation, consider purchasing a dental discount plan. Most of these plans require a pay a small, one-time fee each year. You will have to choose one of the dentists or orthodontists that are in the network, and all of your dental work should be discounted according to the plan you choose.
Dental Savings When You Pay in Cash, Pay in Full
Some dentists and orthodontists are willing to give you a discount when you pay cash for services. These programs are specifically for people who don’t have insurance coverage. If you are without dental insurance, ask your dentist or orthodontist if they offer a discount for cash payments. Since you’ll be saving them money normally paid for credit card fees and billing, you will likely get a discount. This is especially true if you are willing to pay in full at the time of service.
Payment Plans Like CareCredit Bring Dental Savings with Lower Rates
When you need dental work now, and you just can’t afford it, don’t panic. Ask your dentist about payment plans, like CareCredit. Avoid using a credit card with a high-interest rate. Instead, opt for a lower rate health and wellness credit plan. These credit cards are different from general-purpose lending. They often have shorter financing terms and a lower APR. Once approved and paid off, they can be used over again for medical needs.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
Without a doubt, your orthodontist and dentist are experts when it comes to your mouth. But they don’t know everything about you that might relate to your current situation. For that reason, not everything they suggest might be right for you at that moment in time. Asking questions is not disrespectful — especially if you and your doctor have an open and honest relationship.
Be sure to ask your orthodontist or dentist to explain the purpose of any procedure. If you are still unsure as to why it is needed, ask again. Understanding the need for a procedure is a critical aspect of your dental savings. How can you save money if you don’t understand enough to ask the right questions?
If you think there is a language or communication barrier, ask if there is someone else in the office that might be able to explain it to you a little differently. Not everyone understands or learns things in the same way.
If you think of questions while you are at home, write them down so that you can ask them during your next visit. For example, you might consider asking questions such as:
- Is it okay to put off my X-rays until my next cleaning?
- Do my children still need fluoride treatments even though they live in an area with fluoridated water?
- Is this a medically necessary procedure or is it purely cosmetic?
- Is there a less expensive option that might work as well?
Your dentist or orthodontist should be more than happy to discuss these and any other questions that you might have. Remember, you are the customer and you have the right to know how your money is being spent. In addition, you always have the right to get a second opinion, and you should if you aren’t comfortable with the first one.
Tap Into Your FSA for Helpful Tax Savings
If you have a health plan at work, you probably have a Flexible Spending Account option. Your FSA is like a savings account to allow you to save for medical co-payments, deductibles, and other health-related and dental costs. An FSA lets you save money directly from your paycheck before taxes. These non-taxed funds are usually limited to $2,850 per employer. Be sure to use it before the end of the year or you will lose it.
If you have an FSA, try to save enough money to cover medical and dental expenses. FSAs can be used for many dental expenses, typically:
- Fluoride Treatments
- Teeth Cleaning
Visit a Dental School for Big Savings
While dental schools can offer you most of the services you need at a much lower cost than a typical dental office, it’s not appropriate for every treatment or every person. Keep in mind that dental students are practicing. For that reason, they may work more slowly than an experienced dentist. Your time in the chair could be significantly longer than time spent with a practicing dentist.
Naturally, your appointment may also be less personal, too. This student dentist won’t know your history or medications. Also, keep in mind that dental schools don’t have the luxury of repeat patients. Every visit will be like visiting a new doctor for the first time.
On the positive side, you will experience the best dental savings. Some people opt to have all of their cleanings and dental work done at a dental school. They have a strong comfort level with the work performed by students (under the supervision of instructors) or by the instructors themselves. And they love the final invoice for services.
Good Dental Maintenance for Healthy Teeth and Savings
Yes, regular trips to the dentist will cut down on your dental costs. But if you really want to save money, stay on top of the day-to-day care of your teeth. Brush at least twice a day, floss, and switch out your toothbrush as prescribed. Plus, cut down on sugary foods and drinks. These are all good habits that add up to less time in the dentist’s chair. Even better, they will save you money.