Practicing preventive measures against dental damage is definitely a good thing, but regular dental visits are still a must to maintain good dental health. However, many people are unable to properly care for their teeth because dental services are not exactly cheap and accessible. Fortunately, there are a number of budget-friendly options that you can consider to get your teeth checked. Here are some of them:
Check Out Discount Programs
People may get a discounted fee for various dental services by applying for a yearly discount program. The annual fee typically costs $75 to $150. In exchange, you’d get 10% to 60% discounts on oral prophylaxis, X-rays, fillings, teeth whitening, crowns, fillings, and root canals, just to name a few.
Some dentists have websites that outline their services and the typical inclusions of a discounted dental package. For an example of this, click here. If you think you’d be going to your dentist for one or more of these services, then a discount program may be a great deal. However, if you’re only going to the dentist for regular scheduled cleanings, you might end up spending more compared to getting the service without the discount.
Avail Of Student Discounts
Students are usually offered discounts as part of a clinic’s promotional efforts. Although student discounts are not that well-known, some dentists do offer more affordable rates for those who go to school. It’s worth noting, however, that these discounts are not covered by student-based insurance plans. If you are unsure if your dentist has student discounts, all you have to do is ask.
Ask Your Medical Insurance Provider
If your company provides medical insurance for their employees, there’s a good chance that it also has dental coverage. However, you can’t just go to any dentist and get your dental procedures covered. Make sure that you call your insurance company to ask which dental offices are part of their dental network. Generally, twice-a-year dental cleanings are covered with no extra charges or with a small fee.
For those who are qualified for Medicaid, most states offer basic preventive and diagnostic services (e.g. cleanings and X-rays), as well as emergency services. It can also usually cover minor restorative procedures that cost less than $1,000 per person yearly.
Go To Dental Schools
If you don’t have medical insurance, a low-cost option that you may consider is going to a dental school. Many dental school students are in need of hands-on training as a prerequisite for graduation. Most dental schools have clinics where their students can treat patients for discounted prices. You might end up just paying half the usual bill for cleanings, fillings, and even root canals. You don’t have to worry that a student is performing the procedure, because he or she will be supervised by a practicing dentist.
The caveat to going to a dental school, however, is that appointments and procedures take longer to complete. Hence, only go for this option if you have enough time to spare. Additionally, check with the school when they do these offers. Some require appointments, while some accept walk-ins on a first-come, first-served basis.
Visit Public Dental Clinics
These are federally-funded dental clinics that are run by community health centers or state health departments. Many of these clinics charge low fees based on what you can afford. Because they are funded by the state and taxpayers, you can be sure that they have high-quality services even if you are on a limited budget.
The services they offer may not be as comprehensive as a private dental clinic. However, at the very least, they offer basic dental services such as cleanings, crowns, and fillings. Some also offer X-rays, root canals, and surgical tooth extractions. With public dental clinics, payment options usually vary. Thus, it’s advisable to check whether the clinic implements sliding fees or covers medical insurance.
Additionally, since fees are based on your affordability, it’s a common practice for these clinics to ask for your proof of income. You can bring your most recent pay stub or tax form for this.
Check Out Non-Profit Organizations
Some non-profit organizations and dental societies offer dental services for free or for a very low cost. Many of them are usually only available for people who have extreme cases and special needs, though, such as senior citizens and persons with disabilities. However, they also hold mobile clinics for basic dental services like cleaning and filling.
The best way to save on dental services is to practice good oral hygiene and meet with your dentist regularly. Fortunately, affordable dentists are available locally––it just takes time and effort to find them.
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