You know that you’re supposed to see your dentist at least once per year for a cleaning. You haven’t made any dentist appointments this year—or last year, either. They’re just too expensive.
You’re not the only one. Plenty of Americans skip the dentist to save money — this is often because dental care is not covered through basic health insurance, and dental benefits aren’t always offered by employers. Private dental insurance is expensive and out of reach for workers across the country. Instead of paying the dentist out of pocket, the solution is to skip your appointments altogether.
Why is this a bad idea?
Catching Problems Early
Going to the dentist on a regular basis will help you catch oral health problems like cavities and plaque build-up ahead of time. During these appointments, your dentist can respond to these problems right away and minimize any further damage.
Avoiding Dental Discomfort
Skipping the dentist will mean you might not catch these problems early. They will continue and potentially worsen. A simple cavity could turn into severe root damage over time. This can cause you a lot of discomfort while eating food, drinking, talking and even sleeping. It could make your day-to-day absolutely miserable.
Avoiding Higher Expenses
Not only will skipping the dentist cause you more physical ailments and tooth problems, but it will also cost you more in the long run. You will eventually have to spend more on dental treatments to resolve the issues that you ignored. For instance, filling a cavity will always cost less than extracting a rotten tooth or doing a root canal.
Avoiding Long-Term Health Problems
Partaking in proper oral care can help you with other aspects of your physical health. Poor oral care is connected to ailments like heart disease, respiratory disease and diabetes. So, ignoring the dentist doesn’t just lead to oral health problems like gum disease and cavities. It can affect the rest of your body, too.
How to Handle Dental Treatment Costs
Your dental appointments don’t have to cost so much. If you’re skipping your treatments because of how expensive they are, you can follow these tips to make them more affordable.
Get a Dental Savings Plan
A dental savings plan is an annual membership that grants you discounts for various dental services, from cleanings to emergency treatments. As long as your dental clinic accepts the savings plan card, you can dramatically reduce the overall costs of your treatments. Depending on the dentist and the treatment, you can save 10%-60% on the final costs.
One of the biggest benefits of a dental savings plan is that it’s much more affordable than private dental insurance. Typical prices range from $80-$200 per year. Many of these plans are designed for entire families, not just individual patients.
Ask for Discounts
Plenty of dental clinics provide discount opportunities for patients that want to save money. Some offer lower rates for patients that are brand-new. Some offer lower rates to patients that refer a friend or family member to the clinic. And some offer lower rates for patients that decide to pay for their services with cash instead of a card. Check the clinics in your area to see what types of discounts they provide.
Skip the Clinics
If clinic services are still too expensive for your budget, you don’t have to go to them.You can find cheaper treatments through community centers and dental schools.
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How to Handle Emergency Treatment Costs
Cleanings aren’t the only time you will have to go to the dentist. You will have to make an appointment if you have an emergency dental situation, like a broken tooth or a lost filling. Your budget might not be ready for the urgent expense, but you can’t afford to skip this appointment.
What if you don’t have enough savings?You could charge the expense to your credit card and then pay down the balance through the upcoming billing cycle. Or you could try applying for a personal line of credit online. With an approved personal line of credit, you can request a withdrawal within your credit limit and have those funds deposited into your bank account. You can use them to cover the emergency expense in a short amount of time. Once that’s over, you can commit to the repayment cycle.
If you are experiencing problems like high fever or severe swelling in the face, you shouldn’t call your dentist. These are signs that you have a spreading infection. You should go straight to the ER. As for the financial aspect of this situation, your health insurance can offer you coverage for your hospital treatment.
The savings that you get from skipping the dentist are not worth it. Read these tips to make your dentist visits much more affordable. Then, book your appointments!