Brushing twice a day, flossing and getting your 6-month checkups are a great way to keep dental cost low. You can also lower them by finding a dentist that accepts your insurance or offers low-cost financing options like CareCredit.
Most medical plans don’t cover dental work, so you need to buy separate dental insurance. It works similar to health insurance with a premium, deductible and coinsurance.
1. Preventive care
Keeping teeth clean and free of decay reduces the need for costly treatments. The best way to keep dental costs down is to practice good oral health habits at home and get routine checkups.
CDC analyzed data from the Multi-year longitudinal utilization of dental services (MULSS) component of MEPS for the years 2003–2009 in six states with different Medicaid fee scales to estimate the impact of adherence with two evidence-based preventive care interventions on downstream utilization of restorative dentistry and related state healthcare costs. These estimates are subject to the usual limitations of a claims-based study.
2. Routine checkups
Dental checkups are an important part of your oral health routine. However, they can be expensive if you don’t have insurance.
Lack of dental care can exacerbate chronic medical conditions, delay diagnosis of serious medical problems, and lead to avoidable emergency room visits. Many Medicare beneficiaries face limited or no dental coverage and high out-of-pocket costs for routine and restorative treatments.
Economic modeling suggests that moving to a more extended recall policy for dental checks in both deciduous and permanent dentition could be cost-effective, particularly in high risk groups.
Fillings repair areas of tooth decay and help prevent further damage to the affected teeth. They can be made from a variety of materials, with some being more costly than others. The cost is also affected by the location and number of surfaces to be filled.
It’s best to get cavities treated quickly before the bacteria cause additional problems that require more extensive treatment, such as root canals or crowns. This can save you money in the long run!
Tooth extractions are typically one of the most expensive dental procedures if you don’t have insurance. Dental savings plans can help you save on these initial costs, and many dentists also offer payment plans.
Most dental insurance plans cover tooth removals that are deemed medically necessary by a dentist or oral surgeon. Typical coverage is around 80% of the procedure.
Surgical extractions can be more costly than a simple tooth removal, especially if the root is impacted in bone tissue. Additionally, replacement options like dental implants can add to the overall cost.
Dental crowns can cover a damaged tooth to help strengthen it, and improve its appearance. While crowns can cost more than fillings, they can save you from more costly and extensive restorative services in the future.
The material used to make the crown can affect the cost. Porcelain fused to metal crowns are common and durable, but they can leave a gray line along the gums.
A dentist’s experience and expertise can also affect the cost of a crown. More experienced doctors may charge more, but they can provide a higher quality of care.
Dental bridges are a popular way to replace missing teeth. They consist of a false tooth or teeth held in place by dental crowns that are placed on healthy teeth on either side (called abutment teeth).
Traditional bridges use two abutment teeth, while cantilever bridges only require one abutment tooth.
This treatment is usually partially covered by dental insurance. Some people also save on out-of-pocket costs by using funds from a flexible spending account or health savings account (FSA/HSA). Many dentists offer financing and third-party loan options.
Dental implants are more expensive than traditional dentures. But they provide a longer-lasting restoration and restore your ability to bite and chew. Financing options are available, and you may be able to use a flexible spending account or health savings account to pay for the procedure.
The number of implants you need affects the total cost. You’ll also need an abutment and crown, which are separate from the implant itself. The dentist’s experience and location also play a role in the price. Some providers charge more than others, especially those in larger cities.
Invisalign is a clear plastic aligner system that straightens teeth. It costs $3,000-$7,000 based on treatment length and severity.
Some dental insurance plans include orthodontic coverage, though this is limited and varies from plan to plan. If you have a high-deductible health care account (HSA) that allows you to place money annually, these funds can also be used for Invisalign.
Many orthodontists offer payment plans that break down the total cost of your Invisalign into affordable monthly payments. Some of these require a down payment before beginning the process, while others are interest-free.
Veneers are a popular cosmetic dentistry treatment that can make teeth look brighter, straighter, and hide chips or cracks. However, they are a costly procedure that typically isn’t covered by health or dental insurance.
Most traditional veneers require the dentist to remove a small amount of enamel for proper placement and adhesion. But there are also no-prep versions available.
Your location, case complexity, and the dentist’s expertise all affect your final cost. Additionally, you’ll need to consider follow-up and replacement costs over time. This can add up quickly.
10. Root canals
Dental root canals are necessary to save infected teeth and prevent the spread of infection. However, they can be expensive. Luckily, there are ways to reduce the cost of this important procedure.
Specialized equipment is a significant contributor to the price of dental procedures, including root canals. Moreover, the time investment in dental treatments is another factor that affects their price. Fortunately, many dentists offer payment plans and sliding scale fees based on income. Additionally, health savings accounts (HSAs) and flexible spending accounts (FSAs) let you set aside pre-tax money to cover medical expenses.