It’s no secret that the dentist isn’t cheap. Even with insurance, some procedures can take a good chunk out of your budget, and dental health problems only become more serious over time. So what can you do to make your dental care more affordable? Here, we’ve compiled five simple ways to make your oral health care more cost-effective.

Use your insurance for high-priority treatments

The insurance industry registers an average growth of 4% every year. However, while your insurance may cover a good chunk of change for your dental treatments, they don’t always cover everything. There’s a chance your insurance coverage comes with a cap, and some caps can be as low as $1,000. That said, be sure to use the insurance coverage that you do have on your highest-priority treatments. If you need to pay out of pocket for certain treatments, opt for those that are less costly like fillings rather than root canal treatments.

Ask your dentist about payment plans

Nobody likes to take out loans. However, creating a payment plan may your best option when it comes to getting the treatment you need. Small dental issues only get worse and more expensive, and it’s better to be proactive and take care of them sooner rather than later. For instance, only 35% of adults have well-aligned front teeth, and spacing issues can cause teeth to shift over time. Invisalign is the ideal way to correct this problem, and it has a 96% satisfaction rate. But Invisalign also costs between $3,000 and $7,000. A payment plan allows you to get the orthodontic treatment you need to keep your teeth well-aligned even if you can’t make a payment immediately.

Visit a dental school

It’s better to see a specialist for more advanced procedures like root canals, crowns, and tooth extractions. But if you’re looking for a routine cleaning or need to take care of a cavity before it gets worse, a dental school is a great way to get the treatment you need at a reduced price. For example, during free admitting days at the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine, standard cleanings can cost as low as $25 while exams and X-rays are free.

Budget ahead

Chances are when it comes to budgeting that your dental care isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But saving up for a few dental costs can actually help take the financial pressure off when the time comes for treatments. Even if you don’t think you have any dental health issues to worry about right now, dental emergencies happen and it’s better to be prepared.

Remember that prevention is essential

The best way to keep dental costs down is by taking good care of your teeth to begin with. The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice a day, and it’s also recommended to floss at least once a day. It only takes 24 hours for plaque to turn into tartar on your teeth, and only a dentist can remove tartar. Preventative care is your first line of defense against decay.

Dental care costs can keep many of us from getting the dental treatments we need to keep our teeth happy and healthy. If you’re looking for more cost-effective ways to take care of your teeth, try some of the tips above.

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