Even though research has shown that oral health is closely linked to the overall health of the body, countless adults avoid stepping foot into a dentist's office unless they're in severe pain. While many cite anxiety as the primary reason they stay far away from the dentist, others give another reason for their avoidance: money. After all, it's no secret that dental care can be expensive. Moreover, millions of Americans are without dental insurance. However, avoiding the dentist is not the answer. Without preventative dental care, oral health problems can't be caught and treated early-- before they develop into major concerns that require expensive treatment. Instead of letting money deter you from visiting the dentist twice a year, consider the following tips for saving on dental care:
It's all about prevention. Many dental problems-- including tooth decay-- often don't cause pain until they've progressed beyond the point of a quick fix. What this means is that if you avoid the dentist until you feel pain, you've likely already cost yourself some serious money. With preventative care-- including visiting the dentist every six months for professional cleanings and check-ups-- potential areas of concern can be identified and subsequently treated. For example, you might not feel any pain resulting from a small cavity, but a digital X-ray can locate it right away. Thus, you can restore your decayed tooth with a small filling instead of the root canal you'd likely end up requiring without preventative care.
At-home care matters. One of the most effective ways you can save money on dental care is by practicing good oral hygiene at home. This includes brushing with a fluoridated toothpaste twice a day and flossing daily. With proper brushing and flossing, you're less likely to require restorative treatment when you visit the dentist for your regularly scheduled check-ups.
Talk about your financial options. Don't be embarrassed to ask about discounts or discuss financing options with your dentist's office. They understand that treatments can be expensive and want to help ensure that you receive the care you need. Some dentists offer discounts for paying in full upfront; others offer services on a sliding scale based on financial need. Many dentists also offer financing plans, allowing patients to pay for treatments over the span of several months.
Request a treatment plan. If your dentist recommends multiple restorative treatments for your teeth, ask for a treatment plan. A treatment plan-- which typically contains an itemized list of costs-- can help you to understand the breakdown of expenses so you can determine what you can realistically afford. If the total cost is more than you're able to spend, ask your dentist to prioritize the plan so that you can take care of the most pressing needs first. You might also consider asking if any treatment options have less expensive alternatives.
Make wise food and drink choices. What you eat for dinner tonight can potentially save you money in dental care. It might sound far-fetched, but it's true. After all, what you eat has a significant impact on your oral health. For example, diets high in sugar and carbohydrates put you at a greater risk of developing tooth decay. Alternatively, diets rich in calcium can help strengthen the teeth and bones-- and lead to healthier gums. Acidic drinks can damage the tooth's protective enamel, while frequently sipping on water can help prevent cavities.
When good oral hygiene, regular preventative care, and a healthy diet are combined with ongoing and open communication with your dentist's office, money saved on dental care is the result. Are you ready to achieve your healthiest smile? Contact us today.