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How to Afford Dental Care on a Budget

Routine dental care can be expensive. Even preventative care carries a hefty price tag, and more involved treatment of conditions that aren’t caught early enough can empty an emergency fund in one or two visits. In addition, only one third of all working American adults have dental insurance, so many are forced to pay out-of-pocket for any dental care they do have.

On the long list of issues people need to be concerned about, oral health is pretty far down on the list.

Why dental care?

A common misconception for most Americans is that if your teeth are healthy and pain-free, you don’t need to go to the dentist.

Contrary to popular belief, visiting the dentist regularly when your teeth look great and feel healthy is the very best way to catch problems before they become serious enough to cause pain and require expensive treatment.

Additionally, the medical community has long understood that oral health has a direct impact on other serious medical issues. For instance, untreated gum disease has been linked to increased chances of heart disease, diabetes and respiratory problems.

Finally, it’s typically the dentist who discovers and diagnoses cancers of the mouth, tongue and tonsils, which are highly treatable conditions when caught early enough to effectively treat.

So, it’s not just about brushing, flossing, and keeping your smile looking good. It’s ultimately about maintaining the total health of your body and protecting yourself from pain and suffering down the road.

How to fit dental care into an already tight budget?

Because quality dental care is truly important for everyone, the driving force of affording it generally comes down to planning and determination.

Do your homework

In today’s world, most people will take the time to comparison shop for the best prices on everything from shoes and cell phones, to clothing and supplements. You should shop the same for dental services as well.

While dental care is not as much fun to research as the newest tech gadget, it’s probably more important in the long run. Take the time to learn what options may be available to you and how to obtain affordable care. Do the same in comparing dentists and clinics in your area to determine their costs without insurance.

And don’t forget the option of discount dental plans. These can easily make a huge difference in out-of-pocket cost for care while costing far less than most insurance premiums.

Make a budget

To prioritize dental care, it’s important to budget a portion of your disposable income to go toward out-of-pocket expenses related to routine care.

From there, divide the annual cost of routine preventive dental care based on your research by 12 months to determine what portion of your funds to set aside each week or month to cover your dental care. Consider tracking your savings in an app on your phone or somewhere you can access it when you need to for reference.

Routine dental care can be expensive. Even preventative care carries a hefty price tag, and more involved treatment of conditions that aren’t caught early enough can empty an emergency fund in one or two visits. In addition, only one third of all working American adults have dental insurance, so many are forced to pay out-of-pocket for any dental care they do have.

Make your appointments early

Most dentist recommend you visit for routine check-up, cleaning and exams every six months, and will usually want to update your x-rays once a year.

Once your budget is dedicated to routine dental care, it’s helpful to schedule an appointment in advance. That way, the visit is reserved in your calendar, and you have a concrete visit to save for.

By following these simple steps, if you are on a tight budget, you can put the necessary priority on quality dental care and maintain your oral health from this point on.

Looking for ways to save on dental care? Find out how to save from 10%-50% on dental care when you join our dental advantage plan.

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