Personal Finance

How To Get Affordable Dental Care

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 6 minute read

Having trouble paying for dental care? Remember that you have company. Over the past fifty years, the price of dental treatment has increased at a rate that has been roughly double the general rate of inflation. While dental prices have increased, the percentage of the population covered by dental insurance has dropped, leaving only around 45% of Americans to cover these expenses out of pocket.

It’s possible that the premium will be too expensive, and that you’ll end up in the group that is underinsured. Yet, there are a few strategies you may employ to reduce your dental care expenses without compromising on quality.

Saving Money on Dental Care

If you don’t have dental insurance and can’t afford to pay for treatment yourself, don’t lose hope. The following are just a few of the numerous strategies available for reducing the cost of dental care:

  1. Be a Part of Important Medical Research
    Various institutions and groups do studies on the causes and cures for tooth problems. The effectiveness of novel therapeutic medications, for instance, is commonly evaluated through clinical trials, and these studies rely on the participation of willing participants. As a result, you might think about getting free dental care, such as cleaning or having your wisdom teeth pulled, in return for participating in medical research.

    However, you should know that the sort of treatment you receive is frequently related to the sector being examined, so it’s important to choose a clinical study that’s prepared to give the kind of work you need. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research maintains a registry of ongoing clinical studies that you may access for more information.
  2. Go to Dental Clinics That Don’t Cost You a Fortune
    If you don’t have dental insurance, don’t worry; many dentists provide payment plans based on individuals’ income levels.

    Finding a dentist that is willing to work with your budget is possible through a few different avenues. Get in touch with the United Way chapter near you. United Way is an alliance of nonprofits working together to better local communities. The American Dental Association website might also be a resource for locating your state’s dental society’s contact information (ADA).

    It is possible to acquire dental care at a free clinic if you are unable to pay full price or find a dentist who offers a sliding fee system. Patients without substantial financial means are often not eligible.
  3. Find Discounts & Coupons on the Internet
    Don’t forget to visit daily discounts sites if you’re looking to cut costs on dental treatment. Sometimes you might find discounts and coupons for dental procedures like cleanings and fillings on these sites. Since dental care can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars without insurance, these sites can be a lifesaver.
  4. Join a Low-Cost Dental Insurance Program
    You can join a discount dental plan for an annual fee and receive savings (often between 15% and 60%) on dental care from participating dentists. Check out DentalPlans.com to look for coverage options in your area.
  5. Make use of Dental School Interns
    Before they may practice dentistry legally, dental students need to have work experience. Students work under the supervision of a professional dentist or dental hygienist, so you may get dental care at a steep discount while also helping them get valuable experience. You may search for local dental schools using the ADA’s website.
  6. Try to Find a Deal
    Dentists generally are aware that some patients may not have dental insurance. They may be willing to assist you out if they sympathize with your plight and fear losing clients if they refuse service. You should thus discuss your insurance or financial circumstances with the dentist and attempt to negotiate your bill in advance. If you want to maximize your chances of getting a discount, practice solid bargaining skills and schedule your appointment during a slow time of the day.
  7. Prepare to Make a Down Payment
    Using this simple trick, you may save money on a regular basis. A recent research in California found that most dentists would offer a 5% discount if consumers paid in full ahead of time.
  8. Seek out “Dental Tourism”
    Although going abroad for a costly procedure might be a major financial commitment, it may be necessary in some cases. However, it may be difficult to get dental care abroad, as you’ll need to make preparations for both the trip there and the recovery time, and you’ll have to think about the rules and quality of service that are in place in the country where you’re seeking treatment. Before deciding to go abroad for dental care, it is a good idea to talk to a dentist in the United States about whether or not doing so is a good idea given your specific situation.
  9. Put Your Services Up for Trade
    There is always the possibility of bartering if you have a special ability. A dentist who runs his own office may benefit from the assistance of a business consultant who can increase visibility and streamline operations. In exchange for dental care, you may be able to provide your services as an accountant, web developer, graphic designer, or marketing consultant. Check out bartering websites for open positions.
  10. Get a Part-Time Job That Pays Enough to Cover Your Dental Care Expenses
    In order to qualify for insurance coverage, many employers demand that you work a set number of hours per week. Considering part-time work with medical insurance coverage is a good idea. If you work beyond the specified amount of hours each month, you will be eligible for medical and dental coverage.
  11. Make Do With What You Can Get From The Government
    When it comes to getting the medical care they require, low-income and uninsured persons can turn to any number of government agencies that exist specifically for that purpose. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is one of these groups; it serves as a go-to for uninsured Americans and those in needy situations. The Health Resources and Services Administration maintains databases of potential low-cost dental providers in your region.

    The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP Medicaid) is a government program that helps families cover the cost of medical and dental treatment for their children.
  12. Try to Get a Second Opinion
    Sometimes it might be difficult to get affordable dental care. Thus, if your dentist suggests extensive or costly treatment, you should get a second opinion. If you can avoid spending money on something that isn’t essential, you can save a significant amount of money.
  13. Pay a Visit to a Charity
    Many non-profits that qualify can provide dental care at no cost to those in need. Dentistry From The Heart is one organization that organizes events when dentists offer their services to the underprivileged.

    When people do not have access to adequate dental insurance or none at all, they can turn to Mission of Mercy, a non-profit that provides free dental care, as well as free medical care and free medicines. However, the states of Arizona, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Texas are the only ones where Mission of Mercy may provide its services.

Bottom Line

Saving money on dental treatment is fantastic, but regular oral hygiene should be your first concern. Although certain dental issues, like impacted wisdom teeth or the rare cavity, may be inevitable, most of these issues may be prevented or at least kept to a minimum in frequency and expense with good preventative care.

Remember, though, that you should get dental work done as soon as possible if you ever have any issues. Don’t let things grow worse because it might lead to greater pain and health issues down the road and more money out of your pocket.

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