Dental work is probably not your favorite or highest priority item to get done. However it is important and you need your 6 month check up to keep your pearly whites clean and healthy. Many people are fearful about going to the dentist. Some may worry that it will physically hurt while others are worried dental work will hurt their bank account balance. If you do your research a trip to the dentist can still be affordable. For those worried about the out of pocket costs we have compiled the top savings tips for going to the dentist.
- Utilize your insurance and know what it covers. If your employer offers a dental program or you are able to find an affordable individual dental care option take advantage of it. Your employer may offer a dental program that can get you lower contracted rates for care and may cover a portion of your bill. If you use an insurance program take the time to learn what the program does and does not cover. It may take a couple phone calls or emails to your insurance company’s customer service but it can save you time and money to know the particulars of your program. If you are using an insurance program, find out which dental providers are in-network, and utilize only these providers if possible, as this will get you better discounts and coverage. If you need something specific like a night guard, call the insurance company ahead of time and ask if it is covered.
- Ask your dentist’s office to verify your insurance benefits prior to your appointment. While your dentist will not know the extent of the work needed until your actual appointment, you can ask the office to call and verify your insurance benefits ahead of time. Many offices will contact your insurance as a courtesy and verify that your insurance is accepted at their offices. At the same time, the dental office may be able to get additional coverage information such as how much your insurance will pay towards a standard cleaning, etc.
- Ask your dentist’s office if they offer courtesy billing of your insurance company. Your dentist’s office will usually have a designated person responsible for processing your bill with the insurance company. This person has the necessary billing experience to make sure your billing is performed accurately. If you have any questions about your bill, contact your dentist’s insurance department and work together to get the best billing resolution possible.
- Ask your dentist’s office to explain the procedures and costs prior to performing them. Some dental offices now perform deep cleaning and regular cleaning. Certain types of crowns may be less expensive than others. You shouldn’t be afraid to ask your dentist to explain each procedure prior to it being performed. You should also be proactive and ask if there are less expensive alternatives to the procedure. You should communicate to your dental team that you are budget conscious and work together to find cost effective solutions to maintaining your dental health.
- Look for discounts and special promotions. This might not be the first thing you think of when you think about scheduling a dental appointment, but discounts and promotions could save you a bundle. East Valley Dental Professionals is currently offering a $59 dental exam, cleaning and X-rays. This is an excellent example of a cost savings promotion. Without utilizing this offer just one of these services could cost you much more.
- If you do not have dental insurance ask if your dental office has a discounted cash rate. Billing an insurance company costs your dental office time and money. If you do not have dental insurance or your insurance coverage is not very good consider becoming a cash paying patient. Some offices give discounted cash rates to patients that do not use insurance. If dental office does not have to go through the insurance company it saves them money; which they may, in turn, pass on to you.
- Work with your dental office to set up a payment plan. If you need major dental work and simply can’t afford the cost at that time, ask your dental office to set up a payment plan. It may be beneficial to setup affordable payments to ensure you get the treatment you need with payments that are manageable.
- Be proactive. If you maintain healthy teeth and gums with brushing, flossing and regular 6 month checkups you may be able to avoid expensive procedures to correct problems down the road. If you don’t have cavities you may not need things like fillings, crowns, or root canals. The more you take care of your teeth and gums now the less you will have to pay to fix them down the road.
- Use a flex spending account. Flex spending account is, “a special account you put money into that you use to pay for certain out-of-pocket health care costs. You don’t pay taxes on this money. This means you’ll save an amount equal to the taxes you would have paid on the money you set aside. Employers may make contributions to your FSA, but aren’t required to.” If you have a flex spending account consider using these funds to cover the cost of dental work. You will want to consider the amount of your contribution to your flex spending account carefully as there are restrictions on any money not used.
Dental work can be scary and expensive. Be sure to work with an experienced dental team that genuinely cares about your dental experience and your financial health. It is important to find a dentist that you trust as well as a dental team that will work with you and your budgetary concerns. Use these top savings tips for going to the dentist and make your oral care a priority. Taking care of your teeth shouldn’t cause you undue financial hardship.