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Top 10 Ways to Reduce Dental Costs

 

Believe it or not, there can be a right way and a wrong way to receive dental care. Let’s go over the top 10 ways to help you reduce and keep your dental care costs down.

1. Prevention Starts With You- You are the first line of defense against oral problems. It’s up to you to contact your dentist to have any oral problems fixed. Small problems can turn into big problems. If you are trying to save yourself money, fixing small problems is more cost effective than ignoring the problem and letting it evolve into a more serious condition.

2. Routine Check-ups- Dentists recommend visiting them at least twice a year, or every six months. During the check-up your dentist examines your gums for inflammation and measures the ‘pockets’ between your gums and teeth. By measuring the pockets, dentists determine if plaque has accumulated or not.

3. Smile Makeovers- Smile makeovers can add up, if you’re electing treatment with items such as porcelain veneers or dentures. However, simple smile makeovers are available and are generally inexpensive. Enamel reshaping, teeth whitening and bonding methods are great ways to improve your smile without the high costs.

4. Be a Subject- Occasionally, cosmetic dentists need a subject or patient to perform a smile makeover in front of other dentists and dental professionals for educational purposes. Many times, the lucky few who get to do this learn that the dentist only charges them for lab costs, which saves thousands of dollars. Other times, dentists will offer discounts to patients if they use the patient’s photo for marketing purposes.

5. Replace Lost Teeth Immediately- Many times people lose a tooth in the front and immediately have it fixed or replaced. However, when people lose back teeth they tend to forget about it. It’s easy to do since we don’t see the back teeth as often as we see the front ones. Still, leaving gaps or empty spaces can cause other teeth to shift and move. This leads to additional teeth erupting out of their sockets. Plus, it can add stress to teeth, which can result in problems such as enamel wearing quicker.

6. Know How to Choose a Dentist- If you’re going to spend time seeing different dentists, it’s most cost effective to do it in the beginning. You can end up paying more in the long run if you start treatment with one dentist and finish with another.

7. Take Care of the Small Problems- If you have a small cavity, it’s best to get it fixed immediately so it does not evolve into a worse problem such as a decaying tooth. Small cavities are usually cleaned out and filled rather easily, with minimal time spent in the dentist office. If it’s left untreated, restorative treatment such as a root canal or crown may be needed to fix the tooth. These procedures take longer to complete and more expensive.

8. Use Mouth Guards- If you grind your teeth, this could be a great option for you. Mouth guards, or night guards as they’re sometimes called, prevent you from grinding your teeth together while you sleep. They are usually uncomfortable at first, but adjusting to them is quick and painless. Mouth guards prevent grinding, chipping, cracking and breaking of teeth.

9. Finance Your Dental Visits- Even if you have insurance, you can finance your out-of-pocket expenses. This can be essential for someone who wishes to replace bad teeth with veneers instead of crowns. People who do not have dental insurance and have a decent credit history find that financing their dental care is the best option.

10. Barter- It may sound crazy, but it won’t hurt to ask your dentist if there is any other type of payment you can give instead of money. Dentists compete for your business against other dentists, making it difficult to know if they would agree either way. Your dentist may need a plumber, mechanic or other service you may be able to provide.

Page updated February 2011

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