I have always been one of those people who loves to get out into the world and talk with other people, but a few years ago, I realized that I had to do something about my smile. My teeth were yellow and unattractive, and it was really discouraging to see how much different my smile was. I knew that I needed to get my teeth fixed, so I started working with a professional dentist to make things right. Within a few short months, my smile was completely transformed, and I knew that I owed it all to my dental professional. Check out this blog for more information about working with a dentist.
Dental insurance isn't always available through your employer. But that doesn't mean you should neglect your oral health. With the cost of dental care rising, it's important to examine all your options when it comes to finding affordable dental services. What you don't want to do is go without the dental care you need.
Pay Out of Pocket
If you don't have dental insurance, one option is to pay you and your family's dental bills out of pocket. You may be able to handle the cost if all you need are preventive services, and you know in advance how much cash you'll need each time you walk into the dentist's office. But if you or one of your family member's has an unexpected dental emergency, you could find yourself shelling out some big bucks.
Unless you are in good dental health and have only yourself to worry about, going without dental insurance may not be such a good idea. If you don't have insurance coverage but need more extensive dental care, your dentist may be willing to work out a payment plan or offer you a lower rate for some services. Some dentists also charge low-income patients based on a sliding scale. In that case, how much you pay for dental services is based on your income and ability to pay.
Enroll in a Private Dental Plan
By shopping around, you can usually find a private dental insurance plan to buy at affordable cost. Private plans differ in what they offer; however, there are ways to lower the premiums. You can pay pay a higher deductible or go with a plan that requires you to get services from a dentist within the plan's network.
Although most dental insurance plans cover preventive services, some cheaper plans may not cover certain optional preventive measures such as sealants that help prevent decay of the back molars. Other plans may not pay for orthodontics or pre-existing dental problems. Most plans also have a maximum annual benefit.
In some cases, you can buy group dental insurance that isn't employer-sponsored. Usually, a group plan costs less than private insurance, so it's worth looking into what's available. If you're a member of a union, professional organization, alumni association, or other membership organization, such as AARP or AAA club, you may be able to buy a dental plan at a group rate.
Buy a Discount Dental Plan
If you can't get dental insurance, looking into a discount dental plan is another option. Discount dental plans generally are cheaper in cost than dental insurance. You pay an annual fee and then go to a dentist who participates in the plan's network to get dental services at reduced cost.
With discount plans, you are required to pay some money out of pocket, even for preventive services like cleanings and x-rays, but there's an up side. You normally can get discounts on other services, such as cosmetic dentistry procedures, that standard insurance plans often don't cover. Veneers, teeth whitening, and dental implants are some of the cosmetic treatments and procedures you can get cheaper that often are excluded by dental insurance plans.
Look into Other Options
If you're fortunate enough to live in an area where there's an accredited dental school, you can get dental work at a much lower cost. Sometimes, you can get dental examinations and cleanings for free. Going this route is safe, as dental students are carefully supervised by a licensed dentist or dental hygienist. Your local community health center can direct you to a dental school in your area that offers a reduced-cost program.
If even that option isn't affordable and you need dental care, contact your local office of United Way. There may be a charitable or nonprofit organization in your area that can help by directing you to a program that offers free dental care. A potential drawback is the waiting lists usually are long.