5 Ways to Make Dental Care Affordable
Photo by Fabian Blank on Unsplash
Why do you think people don’t want to visit the dentist? According to the ADA, when adults don’t visit the dentist, it’s due to cost most of the time. In fact, 59% of people surveyed cited cost as the reason they avoid the dentist. Unfortunately, the fact that 74 million Americans don’t have dental insurance exacerbates the problem. At Monarch Dental, we don’t think you should have to forgo proper dental care because of the expense especially when you take the advice we share below for affordable dental care.
If You Neglect Oral Health, You’ll Pay the Price
Oftentimes people assume that if they don’t have any tooth sensitivity or pain, there’s no reason to visit the dentist. But just because you don’t feel anything yet, doesn’t mean your mouth is free from tooth decay. There are approximately 27% of adults who have untreated tooth decay according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and nearly 50% of all adults 30 and older have some sign of gum disease.
When people ignore their dental health it can quickly escalate to more serious problems. Filling a cavity when its small is a lower cost of treatment than a root canal or getting a crown later when the decay causes more damage to the tooth. Interestingly, even though most U.S. hospital emergency departments aren’t equipped to handle a toothache, it’s still the No. 1 reason people visit an ER. Which would you prefer to pay? A visit to the ER or a routine dental exam and cleaning?
Additionally, there is a connection between the quality of your oral health and your overall health. When you skip out on dentist appointments you’re not only putting the well-being of your mouth, teeth, and gums in danger, you could be risking your overall health. Consider these ailments that can be influenced by your dental health:
There is some research that suggests the type of plaque associated with Alzheimer’s can be caused by oral bacteria that infiltrates nerve channels and causes damage to the brain.
Premature birth and low birth weight.
While you might be aware that pregnancy causes many women dental issues, periodontitis has been connected to low birth weight and premature birth. And, women with gum disease might be more prone to infertility.
The lungs can also be attacked and get infections including pneumonia from bacteria that enter the bloodstream through diseased gums.
Heart infection (endocarditis).
An infection of the inner lining of the heart known as endocarditis is caused when bacteria enter the bloodstream (which can happen when your gums are inflamed) and attaches to the lining of your heart.
If your gums aren’t healthy as is the case from periodontal disease, bacteria can enter the bloodstream. The bacteria can cause hardening of the arteries. The plaque constricts blood flow and makes individuals more susceptible to a stroke or heart attack.
Blood sugar control.
In some cases, having periodontal disease has made it harder to control blood sugar for those with pre-diabetes or diabetes. Ultimately, if it’s a struggle to control blood sugar, it can make the symptoms of diabetes worse.
More research needs to be done before a direct cause-effect relationship can be established between these diseases and oral health. Until then, it still seems logical that the healthier your mouth, the healthier you are overall.
5 Ways to Make Dental Care Affordable
Since there are certainly benefits to regular visits to the dentist, let’s find ways to make those visits more affordable. Here are five:
1. Preventative dental visits.
Preventative care at your primary care physician’s office aims to keep you healthy and avoid illness or disease in the future. This is the same premise as preventative dental visits. It’s recommended for most people to visit the dentist for an exam and teeth cleaning twice a year; however, your dentist will recommend what’s best for your situation. Preventative visits can help you avoid cavities, periodontitis (gum infection), gingivitis (inflammation of the gums), and enamel loss. Be sure to brush and floss daily along with not missing preventative visits to the dentist.
Since preventative exams allow dentists to identify problems before they become bigger issues and therefore more expensive to treat, you will likely save money in the long run by keeping those appointments for dental exams and teeth cleaning.
2. Understand your insurance benefits.
Insurance can be confusing, so it’s common for people to just avoid getting to know what’s covered. But in order to avoid getting a bill you weren’t expecting, it’s always a good idea to review your dental benefits so you know what is covered and how often such as X-rays, co-pays, annual maximums, and what dentists are in network. When you “play within the rules” of your insurance you can maximize the benefits you receive.
Does your employer offer a flexible spending or health savings account? If so, be sure you enroll so you can benefit from the tax breaks you get with these programs. Another reason you need to be familiar with your dental benefits before you go to your appointment is that it allows you to contact the insurance provider for clarifications or pre-authorization on certain treatments. Since you can’t plan for an emergency, be sure you know how emergency dental treatments will be covered if you ever need them.
3. Enroll in a dental plan.
In an effort to help patients manage dental expenses and to come in regularly to get scheduled care, many dental practices offer a dental plan for those without insurance. These are not insurance policies. They are licensed discount medical plans. If you choose to join a dental plan like our OneSmile Dental Plan (available at select locations), you would pay a yearly subscription fee to receive discounts on dental services and also get FREE exams and X-rays.
4. Financing through the provider.
Another way dental practices help those without insurance and help you cover procedures not covered by insurance at 100% is through financing options. You want to find a dentist with flexible payment plans and good financing that features low-interest rates and affordable monthly payment plans. Our Smile Now, Pay Later! plan has helped many patients take care of dental care with easy financing options. Be sure to inquire about any special discounts or promotions you can take advantage of when you schedule your appointment.
5. Ask about treatment options.
Be sure you understand your treatment options. You should ask your dentist questions about why they suggest certain procedures and if there are any alternatives that might be more affordable.
At Monarch Dental, we are committed to helping you get the dental care that’s right for you because we know how important preventative care and good oral health is to your overall health. We don’t want you to avoid a visit to the dentist for fear of the cost, so we will work with you to determine the best financing and payment plans available to you. You can contact us online or call 1-800-MONARCH (1-800-666-2724) to make an appointment.