Your time in the dentist’s chair may be painless, but you’ll be hurting from the big bill if you don’t have insurance.
Let’s face it, taking care of your chompers isn’t cheap. The price ranges from a couple of hundred dollars for cleaning to several thousand for more involved surgeries.
When you’re low on cash and uninsured, skipping out on these procedures may seem like the smart thing to do. But disregarding your oral health can have a serious impact on your overall wellness.
If fear of a big bill, not needles, has stopped you from visiting a dentist in the past, check in with these tips below. Here are some ideas on how to keep your next trip more affordable.
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1. Tap into Credit Carefully
Dental health is important, but is it worth going into debt for? Maybe; the answer depends on a lot of factors.
Generally, you’ll want to pay for dental cleanings with your own cash as much as possible, reserving a personal line of credit for dental emergencies.
And what does a dental emergency mean, exactly?
Let’s say you fall and crack a tooth or break your jaw. Waiting until you can save up the money to fix them isn’t an option. These things need immediate attention, so a personal line of credit may be the right answer.
If you aren’t sure when to get a personal line of credit, remember this general rule: use it for unexpected emergency expenses.
For routine cleaning and other expected dental care, you should revisit your budget. Use this spending plan to cut expenses and reroute this cash towards your oral health.
2. Visit a Dental College
While an established dental practice is likely a costly option, a dental college may offer a more palatable price tag.
The costs at a dental college tend to be lower because of a couple of reasons:
- You’ll be seen by a student who is learning to master their trade
- Your appointment tends to take longer than your typical visit with a dentist
If you have the time to invest, you’ll pay a fraction of the cost of typical services.
Don’t worry — you can expect to receive the same quality of care. You won’t be seen by freshmen on their first day at school; they’re experienced students supervised by practicing dentists.
3. Search out Non-Profit Clinics
You may find even deeper discounts if you visit a government-funded or non-profit organization.
Federally qualified health centers offer dental care to underserved communities. They receive funding from the government to provide services on a sliding fee scale based on your ability to pay.
If you don’t qualify for these services, reach out to your local dental society. They’ll direct you towards low-cost clinics that donate their services. While not all will provide free care, many of them will offer reduced fees or payment plans to help.
Don’t Give up on Oral Health
Looking after your dental health is hard when you’re on a tight budget, but it isn’t impossible. If you’re tired of choosing between your teeth and your finances, it’s time to reach out to a low-cost clinic or dental college. These affordable options may help you finally invest in your health — and without going into deep debt.