Budgeting for dental care can sometimes be difficult, but it's well worth the trouble. Taking care of your teeth doesn't just ensure that your pearly whites remain healthy and cavity-free, it can also affect the health of the rest of your body. The following tips can help you save money on your dental care while still ensuring that your health is put first.
Tip #1: Put Prevention First
Lowering your risk of dental problems starts at home. Make a point of brushing and flossing at least twice a day. Both together minimizes your risks of tooth decay and gum disease. It's also a good idea to limit your intake of sticky or sugary foods, since these can coat the teeth and lead to cavity-causing bacteria growth. Bring small disposable travel toothbrushes with you so you can clean up your teeth after snacks or lunches out, too.
Tip #2: Look for Alternatives
Regular dental cleanings and check-ups are a must so that you can catch any potential problems early. Check to see if there are any dental or dental hygiene schools in your area. Students, under the close and watchful eye of a trained dentist, perform cleanings, fillings, and other simple procedures at a reduced rate. The work is often done to the highest standards, since the students are being graded on the procedure.
Tip #3: Ask About Discounts
There are often discounts available from your regular dentist, too. Cash payment discounts are common, and they can save you quite a bit over a payment plan. There may also be discounts available on a sliding fee scale, depending on your income. Of course, a payment plan is also an option to look into, especially if you need to have a cleaning or other work done and you don't have the cash on hand.
Tip #4: Don't Skip Visits
It's generally recommended to get a dental cleaning every 6 to 12 months. Make sure you keep these appointments, even if you are trying to save cash. Regular cleanings ensure that plaque and calculus doesn't build up heavily on your teeth, so a single session is all that's necessary to keep them clean. Putting off visits can result in heavy plaque buildup, which takes more time, and costs more money, to remove. Avoiding a visit also increases your chances of developing tooth decay. Instead of skipping a visit, make sure your dentist and hygienist know that you are on a budget, so they only perform the most necessary procedures and skip any extras.