You probably already know that seeing your dentist every six months is likely to stave off major dental problems that will cause you both physical and financial pain. If you've been told by your dentist that you need extensive work done, however, you might be worried about how you're going to pay for it all. Since ignoring your dental woes is not going to make them go away, consider these tips for paying for your dental treatment.
Maximize Your Dental Insurance Benefits
If you are fortunate enough to have dental insurance, it's wise to take a good look at your plan to figure out how you can maximize the benefits. Many insurance plans have both a yearly maximum and a yearly deductible. If you have extensive work to be done, it might make sense to do part of it in one calendar year and the other in the next one in order to avoid going over your allotment for the year.
For example, if you have a $1,500 maximum and you need a root canal, a crown, an implant and a few fillings done, ask your dentist whether any of it can be safely put off until the next calendar year. Sometimes, the answer will be no, but if it's already late summer or fall, waiting until after the first of the year for some of the work might not be problematic. Talk to the insurance coordinator at your dentist's office to see if this is feasible for you.
Ask for Less Costly Options
If you've had a tooth extracted, your dentist is likely to recommend an implant over a bridge or a partial denture. Its benefits might outweigh the added cost, but then again, they might not. If you can't afford to have the work done, then ask if a less expensive option might be available. Keep in mind, of course, that spending less now might result in higher costs later if the work needs to be redone.
Consider Going to a Dental School
If you live near a dental school, it's possible that you might be able to get your treatment done at a lower cost than you would at your dentist or a local specialist. Dental students perform the work and are supervised by licensed dentists.
Be aware that you are likely to have to wait longer for an appointment, so this is usually not feasible if you are having pain or need the work done right away. Also, this is usually an option only for the uninsured, since a dental school is unlikely to accept insurance benefits. It might also be a good solution if you have maxed out your dental benefits for the year and cannot wait for the new year to begin.
Look into Dental Financing
Having dental implants and other dental work done can be an investment not only in your smile, but in your overall health as well. There are several medical and dental financing options available. These might offer special terms, such as a certain number of months interest-free or lower payments that you would have with a personal loan or a regular credit card. Ask your dentist or specialist which types of dental financing the office accepts.
Having dental work done is often a relatively expensive part of your health care, particularly if you do not have dental insurance. The good news is that dentist understand the obstacles that you might encounter in paying for your dental treatment and are likely to be willing to work with you. Don't be afraid to speak up and let your dentist know that you can't afford a particular treatment plan; you might be surprised at the affordable options available.