Keeping your teeth in good shape is a big part of staying healthy. But even though routine dental care is a must for your overall well-being, most health insurance doesn’t cover it -- and it’s typically not cheap when you’re paying out of pocket.
Luckily, there are several steps you can take to save money on dental expenses without sacrificing the quality of care.
Check If Your Health Insurance Offers Dental Coverage
While most health insurance policies don’t include dental insurance, some do offer it as an add-on. Coupling your dental insurance with your health insurance can be a cost effective option, although you may find yourself paying surprisingly high out-of-pocket costs -- even with coverage. Be sure to look into the details of your health plan’s dental insurance option so you know what to expect before you sign up.
Compare All Your Dental Insurance Options
Which types of dental insurance are available to you depends on your unique circumstances. Your employer may offer it as part of their benefits package. Maybe you’re a freelancer looking to purchase dental coverage through the marketplace or need to look into private dental insurance. Whatever your situation is, it's always best to thoroughly research what type of dental plans are within your reach so you can make the most informed choice.
Look For Dental Savings Plan
As an answer to the sometimes high out-of-pocket expenses (even with dental insurance), many dental savings or dental discount platforms have risen to the challenge of lowering dental care costs. The standard model here is an annual or monthly subscription plans that offers set discounts for routine and emergency care.
Compare Cost of Care
The cost of dental care definitely isn’t standardized and can vary widely between providers or change depending on where you live or what kind of care you’ll receive. Routine care like cleanings may be more regular in cost, but more specialized procedures or elective care is up in the air. The map below can show you how much you’re likely to pay in your state for something like Invisalign.
a. Include interactive Invisalign map here?
While you may not be able to escape factors like where you live (though some people do travel very far and wide in search of cheap dental care), doing your due diligence to ensure you’re getting the best possible price is important to finding cheap dental care
Other Best Practices
Get Regular Care
As tempting as it can be to pinch pennies now by putting off cleanings and other routine care, it may cost you dearly later. Avoid big dental bills and costly emergency procedures by investing in the health of your teeth now with regular, routine preventative care. This type of care usually costs much less per appointment than large procedures.
If you need care but are unsure if you can afford it right now, ask your dentist if they offer financing options or discounts for paying cash. Haggling can be uncomfortable, but you never know until you ask, and there’s harm in trying to get the best price.
Avoid Medical Debt
If you do end up biting off more than you can chew (sorry, we had to) and have to pay for dental care using credit or let a bill go unpaid past its due date, take the necessary steps to keep your credit intact. This means communicating with your dentist, insurance provider or credit card company and making as many payments as possible on time. You can also try to negotiate your debt or consolidate it. The goal is to pay as little as possible while still paying your balance in full without affecting your credit.