How to save money at the dentist
As we are self-employed, our family does not have dental insurance and get to pay out-of-pocket for all our dental procedures. We have had to be fairly shrewd when it comes to our dental health. Here are some things we do to drastically lower our family’s dental costs:
We brush and floss regularly. A no-brainer, but I am surprised how many parents don’t clean their kid’s teeth daily. There is much weeping and wailing, but my husband brushes and flosses each child’s teeth every night. I’ve heard that until a child can comfortably and confidently write cursive, they should have someone else brush their teeth.
There are no automatic maintenance procedures done on our family. We put off having x-rays done as long as possible. Oftentimes the dentist does x-rays and exams based on what insurance will pay, not what is necessary. I was able to talk my dentist out of x-rays for myself for a number of years.
When we can’t afford a procedure or service, we simply tell them, “it’s not in our budget.” The dental staff gets this, especially when they know we are paying cash (be sure to ask for a discount for paying for cash for your appointment in-full). My daughter’s dentist even gave us a free x-ray last month. Turns out she didn’t need the filling after all!
We take advantage of promo deals. At my last appointment with Gentle Dental, I tried the “can I skip the x-rays” bit but my dentist denied me (it has been five years). I told the receptionist that the $250 wasn’t in our budget. Wouldn’t you know that they were running a special — dentist exam, full x-rays and a cleaning for under $100. I would have spent an additional $150 if I hadn’t asked.
Take advantage of Groupon and other local daily deal site offers. You can usually get an exam, cleaning, and a full set of x-rays for around $60. If you don’t like the new dentist or want to stick with your current one, you can have the x-rays transferred.
Disclaimer: I am not a dental care expert nor am I telling you how to provide dental care for your family. Just sharing what my family does to save money and how we have learned to be proactive consumers in the marketplace. We question every procedure (politely, of course) and have the right to refuse procedures. And I am thrilled that dental practices are starting to pay attention to those of us who pay cash by offering cash discounts (usually 10%), special promotions and flexibility when it comes to services offered.
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