“Can I afford the dental care I need?” is a question on nearly everyone’s mind before they visit the dentist. Even if you’re fortunate enough to have some form of dental insurance, it’s often confusing and unclear how much you’ll end up paying for your care. And if you’re one of the millions of people without dental insurance, that just ratchets up the anxiety to another level.
As a dentist, I hate to hear that people are neglecting their health because of financial worries. In today’s post, we’re going to talk more about how you can afford great dental care, options for paying for needed care, and much more.
What to do if you have dental insurance
If you have dental insurance, you must be aware that it’s very different from your health insurance. In most cases, there’s a (surprisingly low) cap on how much care your insurance will pay for in a given year. And few insurances will cover 100% of the cost of all treatments. Often preventive care like x-rays and exams will be covered more completely than restorative treatments like crowns or fillings.
If you have dental insurance, the best thing you can do is to come to your appointment a few minutes early and talk to us. We can research your insurance and help you understand what may be covered and how much you’ll pay for a variety of treatments. Then when you and your dentist are evaluating different treatment options, you’ll have a better idea of what to expect.
Since dental insurance often has a (shockingly low) limit, there may be ways to work around this. Say you need 2 cavities filled at your checkup in November. If you’re close to your insurance limit for the year, we’ll try to fit you in for one before the end of December. Then, when your insurance “resets” in January, we can get you in to take care of the other one. We’ll try to find a way to work with you and your insurance.
However, we won’t make recommendations that will negatively affect your health. Some treatments simply can’t or shouldn’t be put off.
Learn more about our recommendations when it comes to dental insurance.
What to do if you don’t have dental insurance
Dental insurance isn’t magic and not having it shouldn’t prevent you from seeing the dentist. Preventive care is always less expensive in the long run than fixing problems like cavities, lost teeth, and gum disease.
We offer a variety of options that make paying for necessary care much more affordable if you don’t have dental insurance.
Think of CareCredit like a credit card. But it’s just for your health and wellness needs like a trip to the doctor or the dentist. It’s a really flexible way to pay for the costs of your dental treatments. If you apply for CareCredit, you may even qualify for 0% interest over 6, 12, or even 24 months of payments.
If you’re interested in CareCredit, contact us online or ask our front desk staff for more info at your next appointment.
In-Office Dental Discount Plan
Part of what makes paying for dental care so unpredictable and frustrating is that expenses seem to come out of nowhere. This has been brought up by more than a few of our patients. So we listened and created an in-office dental health savings plan that lets our patients plan ahead and save on all of their needed dental treatments.
A 1-year membership costs $305 and with that, you’ll get 15% off all of your dental treatments and 10% off all orthodontics. You’ll even get a FREE set of custom take-home teeth whitening trays.
If you’re interested in learning more or signing up, ask your dentist during your next visit.
Investments you can make in your dental health
As mentioned earlier, when it comes to your dental health, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Dental health starts at home — and it takes more than brushing and flossing.
Don’t get us wrong, brushing and flossing are absolutely essential. Brush twice a day (ideally with an electric toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste) and floss every evening. Ask your hygienist to show you proper brushing and flossing technique. Do that and you’ll have a headstart on your journey to great dental health.
Regular and consistent brushing and flossing removes bacteria and gets rid of stubborn bits of food that bacteria rely on for a food source. But here’s the thing: your diet also plays a HUGE role in determining how likely you are to get cavities. Sugary and acidic foods like soda, candy, and even fruit juices act as a food source for bacteria and eat away at the enamel of your teeth.
By focusing on whole foods including plenty of green leafy vegetables and avoiding processed, sugary, and acidic foods, you’ll further reduce your risk of decay. In addition, it’s not just what you eat, but how often you eat as well. Snacking between meals gives bacteria ample time to feast and do damage to your teeth.
We can’t stress this enough — keep up with your regular checkups, exams, and x-rays. Brushing and flossing at home aren’t always enough to remove bacteria, especially from around the gumline and in hard-to-reach places, like near your back teeth.
Your hygienist will use specialized tools to remove bacteria buildup that can’t be brushed away. This helps to reduce your risk of decay and makes your daily brushing habits that much more effective.
Be aware of your dental health
Between dental appointments, keep track of changes in your dental health. Be on the lookout for:
- Bleeding gums
- Suddenly sensitive teeth
- Rough or sharp teeth
- Chips, cracks, or fractures
- Bad breath or dry mouth
- Teeth that feel loose
Any changes in your dental health are worth asking your dentist about. By checking in and maybe moving up your check-up, you might be able to catch a potentially costly problem early. Early detection of a problem may allow you to get it fixed in a way that’s less invasive and less expensive.
Schedule your appointment at First Impressions
If you’re looking for a dentist who will work with you to help you get the care you need at a price you can afford, let’s talk. First Impressions has convenient office locations in Yukon and OKC.
Dr. Cole attended Oklahoma State University and earned a degree in physiology. After studying dentistry at the University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry, Dr. Cole continued his education in the Advanced Education Program’s general dentistry residency program. He is highly trained in placing and restoring dental implants and providing comprehensive dental care. By taking a personalized approach to dentistry, Dr. Cole meets the needs of his patients and exceeds their expectations.