Going to the dentist is a chore many people tend to dislike. It’s uncomfortable, time-consuming, and it can be fairly expensive. Unfortunately, it’s just one of those things we have to endure as adults. While there’s not much we can do about the nature of dental care, there are several steps we can take to make the process easier, and ultimately, more affordable.
We’ve compiled a list of strategies to help you save money at your next dentist appointment. These items are simple, straightforward, and focus on things you can do to reduce dental care costs. Read the tips below to learn how you can start saving money at the dentist today.
1. Buy Dental Insurance
Just under half of all adults ages 65-80 (47 percent) do not have dental insurance, according to the National Poll on Healthy Aging from the University of Michigan.i
Purchasing dental insurance is the best and most effective thing you can do to save money on dental care. Many plans cover routine appointments, making your annual visits much more affordable. And when you do suffer from a cavity or another dental issue, you’ll be responsible for a much lower payment.
Dental care is offered by a variety of insurance providers and many plans feature an extremely affordable monthly premium. Many Medicare Advantage plans even include dental coverage for as little as $0 a month.
2. Shop Around
When it comes to saving money on dental care, it’s important to find a dentist that you truly trust and feel comfortable seeing. It’s also critical that you find one with reasonable prices. According to Health Cost Helper, standard teeth cleaning by a dental hygienist can cost $75-$200.ii
Do your research and select a dentist that fits your budget. Ask family and friends for recommendations, and make sure to compare prices. Go to Yelp or Angie’s List and read the reviews, especially those discussing pricing and payment plans. Groupon and Living Social also offer discounts and coupons on dentists from time to time.
Remember, dental care is a purchase, just like anything else. Take the time to shop around and do your research.
3. Practice Preventative Care
Brushing your teeth and flossing every day is critical. It not only affects your dental hygiene – it also has a significant impact on your wallet. Brush twice a day, floss and avoid sticky, sugary foods.
If you take good care of your teeth and have dental insurance, your routine cleanings may be your only worry instead of needing to schedule a follow-up appointment to fill a cavity or major dental work. Let this be some additional motivation to remember to floss every day.
4. Visit the Dentist Regularly
It sounds counterintuitive but visiting the dentist regularly may actually save you money in the long run.
It’s recommended to visit the dentist twice a year, with once a year being an absolute minimum.iii Still, about 34.5 percent of U.S. adults didn’t see the dentist within the past 12 months, according to U.S. News and World Report.iv
Going to your annual appointments will help prevent serious dental problems. Your dentist will be on the lookout for any red flags and can catch potential problems early before they turn into bigger issues.
It’s much cheaper to visit the dentist regularly and practice preventative care than to avoid the dentist for years, only to go in with an emergency root canal. Don’t stick your head in the sand. Make it a priority to go to the dentist at least once a year.
5. Get a Second Opinion
If you need serious dental work done, it pays to get a second opinion. Sometimes we forget that we can visit other dentists if we hear something we don’t like or face an expensive procedure. You’re not tied down to your dentist, and it’s always a good idea to get a second opinion on serious work.
Sometimes dental procedures can be purely cosmetic, or a dentist may upsell you on a product to try to increase their business. Get a second opinion to make sure the money you’re spending is truly necessary for your dental health.
6. Take Advantage of Discounts and Special Offers
Many dentists offer things like referral programs, monthly specials and quarterly discounts. Take advantage of everything that you can. Again, do your research and use any and all discounts you come across. Affordable dental care is out there if you take the time to look for it!
Want to Add Dental Insurance?
Although dental care can be expensive, it’s vital to maintain your overall physical health. As stated above, one of the best ways to help keep your out-of-pocket costs at the dentist’s office in check is to enroll in a dental insurance plan. If you’re eligible for Medicare, you have two ways to get dental insurance:
Enroll in a stand-alone dental insurance plan to supplement Medicare Part A and Part B.
Enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan with dental insurance.
If you’re interested in learning more about which plans are available in your area, Ensurem may be able to help. We partner with several well-known insurance providers to offer you top-rated1 plans. Call Ensurem to speak with a licensed insurance agent at the number above.
Don’t want to speak to an agent on the phone? That’s OK, Emma is here. Emma is your virtual Medicare assistant2 and can help you select a Medicare Advantage Plan with dental coverage 100 percent online from the comfort of home. Get a clear picture of your insurance options with Ensurem.
1 Ensurem only offers products from insurance carriers with an A.M. Best Rating of B++ or higher and/or, where applicable, a CMS Star Rating of 4/5 or higher.
2 Emma is a virtual assistant and not a live person.
i “Dental Care & Coverage After 65: Experience & Perspectives,” Domenica Sweier, Ph.D., D.D.S., March 23, 2020, National Poll on Healthy Aging University of Michigan, https://www.healthyagingpoll.org/reports-more/report/dental-care-coverage-after-65-experiences-perspectives
ii “How Much Does Teeth Cleaning Cost?” Cost Helper Health, https://health.costhelper.com/teeth-cleaning.html
iii “Do I Really Need to See the Dentist Twice a Year?” Zahra Barnes, April 5, 2018, Self, https://www.self.com/story/how-often-to-see-dentist
iv “Even Before Pandemic,” One-Third of U.S. Adults Went Without Dental Care, Steven Reinberg, July 9, 2021, U.S. News & World Report, https://www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2021-07-09/even-before-pandemic-one-third-of-us-adults-went-without-dental-care