Saving on Dental Care: Exploring Insurance and Discount Plans

Good oral health is the foundation for good overall health, and getting routine dental care like cleanings, oral exams, and restorations such as fillings and root canals is a critical part of making sure your mouth and your body stay healthy.

However, millions of people forgo regular dental services, often because of cost, increasing the risk of poor health outcomes. When they can’t see a way to afford quality routine dental care, people are less likely to take their children to the dentist, seek dental care for themselves, or accept the treatments they need for good oral health. Moreover, when small problems like cavities aren’t addressed early, they can turn into bigger and more serious problems that become even more expensive, such as gum disease or the need for dental implants.

Routine dental care and checkups are important, and you and your family shouldn’t have to put off the services you need for optimal health because of cost. Here are six ways you can save on dental care.

Closeup of two hands. One is holding a large model of a tooth and the other is holding coins

Six Ways to Save on Dental Care

Despite the prolific role of dental insurance, it is not the only option available for people to afford quality dental care. In fact, it’s just one of many different ways that you can make getting the care you need fit within your budget. Taking care of your teeth and mouth are well worth it; by investing in your dental health today, you help ensure better overall health for the future.

1) Dental Insurance/PPO

Dental insurance typically provides the broadest and most comprehensive coverage, with most PPO plans covering the entire cost of basic services and preventative treatments–such as twice-yearling cleanings and fluoride treatment–and large portions of restorative or other services.  

However, dental insurance isn’t available to or affordable for everyone. Most people get it from their employer by working full-time, but not everyone falls into this category, such as retirees or people who are self-employed. It’s possible to purchase your own dental insurance on the health marketplace, but this may be prohibitively expensive depending on your family situation and how many people need to be on the policy.

To get the most out of your dental insurance, take full advantage of the services for which you qualify at no cost. That should include, at a minimum, the annual cleanings for prevention, but double check whether other services are included as well.

2) Dental Discount or Savings Plans

Dental discount plans–also commonly referred to as dental savings plans or dental memberships–take a subscription-based approach to paying for dental care. For an annual fee (typically a few hundred dollars), you gain access to standard services from your dentist, as well as access to additional services, at a lower price than those who aren’t participants in the membership. They are often cheaper than insurance coverage, but can still provide greater accessibility to routine dental care than simply paying out of pocket.

A dental savings plan doesn’t usually cover the full cost of treatment like insurance does, but you could see savings of up to 60% off certain services, making them much more affordable and attainable. And, unlike the annual maximum coverage cap of traditional dental insurance, dental savings plans have no cap; you can get as much care as you need, as often as you need it.

3) Financing/CareCredit

Financing can be a useful tool for bridging the affordability gap in dental care, and it can be used for both routine maintenance and extensive treatments. Oral surgeries, root canals, and other in-depth procedures may cost hundreds of dollars that you don’t have, but that is no reason to feel ashamed—very few people have hundreds of dollars free at a moment’s notice. Financing programs–CareCredit is the most common, but many dental offices will also offer their own in-house financing–may not reduce the cost of your treatment or procedure, but it will help break up the cost into smaller, more manageable payments, spreading out the financial impact over a longer period of time and giving you an opportunity to get the care you need now while paying for it little at a time. 

4) Flexible Spending Accounts

Some people have access to an FSA, or flexible spending account. Certain types of jobs, like government work, are more likely to offer these, and they function as a sort of health savings account. You contribute money that is specifically dedicated for health expenditures, including dental work, and the main advantage of this is that contributions are tax-free, so employees can leverage more of their money toward healthcare.

If you have an FSA, ask your dentist if they can accept payments directly. Depending on the office, they may provide you with an out-of-pocket quote that can be paid with the FSA funds. While FSAs incentivize saving toward healthcare expenses, they don’t do anything to change the cost of the procedures. They are not insurance coverage, and they will not cover any portion of the fees. Rather, they help you be able to save for the future so that you’ll be able to afford what you need when it comes to healthcare expenses.

5) Clinics and Schools

One of the lesser-known options for obtaining affordable dental care is to visit free or low-cost dental care clinic events in your area. Dental Depot of DFW, for example, regularly hosts various community events for low-income, uninsured, and at-risk patients.

You can also search for nearby dental schools. Many have teaching facilities with clinics that allow dental students to gain hands-on experience treating patients. Dental students will have already had to pass several qualifications to be able to treat patients, and they are typically supervised by an experienced, licensed dentist. Services here are often available at a reduced cost.

6) Be Honest with Your Dentist

Dentists like those at Dental Depot of DFW are deeply committed to helping their patients achieve the best oral health possible, and sometimes that does entail extensive or expensive procedures. However, your dentist would not be recommending something to you if you didn’t need it to preserve the health of your mouth and teeth. 

If you are concerned about the cost of a treatment or procedure, be upfront and honest with your dentist. He or she understands the nuanced ins-and-outs of dental insurance, membership plans, FSAs, and more and can help you navigate your options with confidence. Depending on the procedure, they may be able to schedule it or break it up into phases in a way that helps make the cost more manageable or takes optimal advantage of your insurance plan.

Quality Dental Care at an Affordable Price from Dental Depot of DFW

As a family owned and operated private practice, Dental Depot of DFW is committed to upholding the Dental Depot legacy of providing sensible dentistry care with superior customer service. In addition to multiple locations and easy, flexible scheduling six days a week at many offices, Dental Depot also accepts most major insurances and CareCredit. And, our friendly financing staff at each Dental Depot location is happy to work with you to develop individualized payment plans and options.

Get the quality dental care you deserve at a price you can afford with Dental Depot of DFW. Schedule an appointment today at a location near you


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