A single dental treatment can easily cost a patient hundreds—or even thousands of dollars—if he or she is uninsured. Because of the expense, many uninsured individuals will avoid the dentist altogether, and might only seek treatment when they are in excruciating pain. Whether you need extreme dental work done or you’re just in need of routine dental care, the following ways can help make dental treatments more affordable if you’re uninsured:
Ask about new patient specials
If you’re looking for a new dentist, ask about new patient specials. Many dental offices will offer discounts for first-time patients, or even free services, such as routine cleanings and exams.
Search for coupons
Aside from new patient specials, you might also be able to score a discount by searching online for coupons, whether for your current dental office or for a different one in your area. Dental practices will frequently use social media outlets, such as Facebook and Twitter, to advertise deals and specials. If your dental office sends out an online newsletter, sign up for it to receive news about current promotions. You’ll also want to check discount websites like Groupon, where you may occasionally be able to find coupons for dental procedures in your area.
Consider the benefits of a dental insurance plan
Whether you’re unemployed or your company doesn’t offer dental insurance as a benefit to employees, you’ll want to consider the advantages of purchasing a dental insurance plan on your own. Monthly premiums tend to range between $15 and $25, but this may vary depending on your location, insurance carrier, and specific policy. If it’s not in your budget, consider re-arranging your monthly budget so that it allows you to pay for dental insurance. It may be another monthly bill to worry about, but maintaining dental health will be worth the investment—plus, you could potentially save thousands each year in dental expenses.
Buy a discount plan
An alternative to a traditional dental insurance plan is a discount plan, which can offer steep discounts (usually between 15 and 60 percent) for an annual fee. Not all dentists accept these plans, so unless you’re willing to switch dentists, be sure to check if he/she accepts them.
Look into other sources for help
If you fall into a certain income bracket, you may qualify for assistance from different organizations, including the Bureau of Primary Health Care and the United Way. Additionally, if you’re a parent and seeking low-cost dental care for your child, you may be eligible for assistance through the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Consider treatment from a dental student
Dental students need to work on actual patients as part of their training, and in exchange for this, dental schools will often offer free or discounted services. Even routine dental care at a dental school can save you a bundle, and all work is performed under the supervision of licensed dentists.
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Nothing above is meant to provide financial or tax advice. You should meet with appropriate professionals for such services.