Skip to comments.How to Save Money on Dental Care So You Won't Go Broke at the Dentist (Surviving Socialism)
Posted on 11/10/2012 6:11:43 PM PST by RKBA Democrat
The Great Len Penzo has asked me, nay, compelled me to write a post for you, his followers, on how to save money at the dentist.
Well, he came to the right guy because I may just be the only practicing dentist/personal finance blogger on the planet. Pretty cool, huh?
So today Ill share with you some of the best things you can do to save money on dental care so you dont go broke at the dentist.
Dental care, like any other kind of health care, isnt cheap. So its great to be able to save some money any way you can when it comes to caring for your teeth.
First, lets talk about dental insurance. Dental insurance is a great thing, and if your workplace provides it at no cost to you, then obviously you should take it. But if you have to pay for all or part of your dental coverage, then it becomes a judgment call as to whether its a good deal or not.
A typical benefit is about $1,000- $1,500 per year per person and thats it. It certainly doesnt take long to rack up a bill that exceeds that limit. But if you have great teeth like my man Len and you rarely or hardly ever need anything other than a cleaning, then paying for insurance may be a bad deal. Just pay cash for your twice yearly cleanings and youll probably come out ahead in the long run.
However, if you consistently need dental work done every year or two, then insurance is probably a good deal from a numbers standpoint because they will pay out more money in claims than they take from you in premiums.
An alternative to having insurance is to insure yourself by budgeting a set amount every month for dental care. Then when the money is needed, it will be available.
Next, lets talk about prevention.
Most people know how to prevent tooth decay and gum disease through brushing and flossing, but not nearly enough people do it effectively.
I know this stuff is common sense for most of you but it really does work:
Brush every day at least twice, preferably three times (after every meal). Youd be amazed at the number of people that only brush two to three times per WEEK! Ive even seen extreme cases of patients who had not brushed for YEARS! Then they come see me and ask why their mouth is hurting. Im not joking. When you do brush, take your time. Thoroughly brush every surface of every tooth. This should take three to five minutes. Most people are shocked at how long three to five minutes seems when they are used to just brushing quickly and not really paying attention, but if you learn to be meticulous, thats how long it takes. Use a fluoride toothpaste. Most toothpastes have it but some dont, so read your labels. Use a fluoride rinse after you brush. Stop it with the sugared drinks already. That means sodas, sweet tea, energy drinks, sports drinks, and anything else with sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Having one occasionally is not a big deal, but sipping on them all day long causes you to get a ton of cavities very quickly and will flat out ruin your teeth. I see this a lot in my practice and wonder why so many people never make the connection between lots of sugar and lots of cavities. Get your teeth cleaned every six months. No, this is not a racket for your dentist to make more money. Its called prevention. Cleaning the tartar buildup off your teeth regularly keeps you from getting gum disease, and a regular exam helps to find any problems at an early stage before they get out of hand and cost more to fix. Dont go to the cheapest dentist in town. Not all, but some will try to make up for cheap fees by doing more work. Its sad but true. Ask your friends and family who they trust. When it comes down to it, some people are just more genetically prone to dental problems, and those people are going to end up spending more money on dental care than other people who arent.
It stinks, I know, but it makes the tips above that much more important for those people.
Also, if you have mild dental fear, you dont have to put off dental work anymore and incur larger bills because you waited too long due to fear.
You can ask the dentist for a mild sedative such as Valium or laughing gas (nitrous oxide). If youre extremely fearful you can even ask for a deeper form of anxiety control called conscious sedation. If your dentist wont do it, then find one that will.
In this day and age, with the anxiety management tools we now have, dentistry can be done much more comfortably than in the past.
I hope these tips help you save a lot of money and time at the dental office.
Spot on advice. Threw out the smokes coming up on six years ago. My Dentist noticed the improvement four years ago. He keeps asking, why do your teeth and gums keep improving?
Yes thanks very much for the posting.
Some of us Are REALLY afraid of dental work....
(Of course, modern dentistry is much better than any of the above! Still and all, some of us remain very afraid...it is difficult to get over this, ha!)
Self employed, so not on our plan - but I did go to a dentist once about five years ago....
That said, I do think "every 6 mos" is unnecessary. Unless you have a specific or unusual dental problem, once a year is good.
From what I understand of recent studies, the flossing is far more important. Brushing is mainly to keep the gums healthy, as the teeth, other than in between, are pretty much self cleaning. Also, should brush before meals or more than an hour after so the acids from the foods have time to neutralize; right after eating the enamel on teeth is slightly softened by those acids, so if you brush right then you wear the teeth further.
Personally, I recommend investing in an electric toothbrush such as the Oral-B pro series (the ones that have ultrasound and 3d motion). Not only do they have a timer to help you get the right amount of brushing, but once I started using one, my dentist always commented on how healthy my mouth was. My brush also has a water-flosser which I use with diluted Listerine, which seems to help immensely.
Best investment ever is is sonicare toothbrush. Will keep you from dental work forever if used 2_3 times a day.
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away - and the dentist at bay”
Apples and strawberries leave your teeth squeaky clean...cheese can aid also
Swordmaker posted an interesting article on dental health a while back: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/2769347/posts
I use baking soda with small amount of 3% hydrogen peroxide and then toothpaste a couple times per week. Now I see that Colgate OPTIC White toothpaste contains hydrogen peroxide. Costco sells it. It’s supposed to kill bacteria by eliminating oxygen.
For the cost of a couple of root canals you can instead go the store bought route. Go to a Denture Clinic. They are cheaper on the pulling bill also. It's a wise long term cost savings measure especially for anyone taking blood pressure medications.
Seriously a good upper & lower set of store boughts goes at about $300-$400 tops and no one is going to even know it if they do them right.
What’s bad for you is constant cavities and gum disease. There is a direct relationship between gum disease and heart disease.
Flouride helps prevent this.
I started doing that two years ago and my gums are a healthy pink again.
Once in the Morn and before bedtime. I use the Hydrofloss.
My dentist has said that flossing BEFORE brushing is most effective.
When you floss you clean out the food and bacteria from between the teeth.
It makes more sense to floss out the food and bacteria and then brush and rinse it away, than to brush and then floss the food and bacteria into your mouth and leave it there.
I’d add: floss before brushing. Allow the tooth brush to carry away the gunk disloged by flossing.
Avoid popcorn and hard candy. Or at least chew them VERY gingerly. You can break a tooth or filling very easily.