7 Ways to Have Low Cost Dentistry:
Most people want to be healthy and have good oral health as well, but sometimes that comes at a cost. Especially if you have not been to the dentist in a while, it can be scary to make that leap and come in to see us. The more severe the dental concerns are, usually the more expensive the treatment can become. At Lincoln Family Dentistry we believe in quality but affordable dental care, so there’s no need to break open the piggy bank to visit us. Even with affordable dentistry offered at our offices, there are 7 ways we have determined that can help you to have low cost dentistry:
- Use up your insurance benefits every year – Most dental insurances have what is called a “maximum”. For dental insurance, this means that your insurance plan has a specified amount that they will pay for dental treatment before the entire amount of the procedure becomes your responsibility (as opposed to only a percentage). For example, if you have a $1,500 maximum and dental insurance pays an estimated 80% for fillings, then as long as you have not met that maximum, your insurance will pay for 80% of the fillings and you will only be responsible for the 20% not covered along with a once a year deductible (usually between $50 and $100) if your plan has one. Once you have reached your maximum and your insurance has paid out $1,500 in a calendar year, you would be responsible for the full cost of the filling instead of just the 20%. Because you pay for insurance whether you use it or not, a great way to take advantage of that and get the most for your money is to use up that maximum allowable amount as often as you can. So, if you have a significant amount of dental work to be done, instead of putting it off, do as much as you can in a calendar year – usually January 1st to December 31st though this does vary with different policies – to maximize your insurance benefits. You’re paying for it; you might as well use it to its fullest!
- Visit our office for your regular cleanings and exams – Keeping up with your dental cleanings and exams can also help you keep your dental costs down to a minimum. Dental cleanings is a cheapest dental procedure and most often is covered by any dental insurance. While every policy is different, most dental insurances cover cleanings and exams as well as x-rays at 100%. That means that if you keep your mouth healthy, your dental treatment could cost you absolutely nothing and allow you to have affordable dentistry! Staying current with your dental cleanings also means that plaque will be thoroughly cleaned off of your teeth that isn’t removed by regular brushing and flossing at home. When plaque is removed and not allowed to sit for an extended period of time on the teeth, it helps prevent cavities. Visiting our office at least twice a year for cleanings and exams also means that if there are any dental concerns, we can address them while they are minor. If dental concerns go untreated, they don’t go away. They only get bigger and are no longer an inexpensive fix.
- Fix cavities as soon as possible – Cavities are a silent dental disease because they do not cause discomfort. When you have a cavity, it may be easy to put off because it is not causing you any discomfort. The problem with this mentality is that cavities do not get smaller; they only get bigger and deeper into the tooth. The deeper the cavity gets, the higher the chance it will cause you discomfort. Once a tooth starts causing you discomfort consistently, it is usually too late for a simple filling. A more expensive root canal will be needed instead to treat the infected tooth. Once cavities are diagnosed, be sure to take care of them as soon as possible to prevent the cavity from getting larger, very uncomfortable, and more expensive.
- Do not ignore bleeding or swollen gums – Gums that are swollen and/or bleed easily could be symptoms of gingivitis or something more serious called periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums that, if left untreated, can lead to severe complications such as tooth loss. As hardened plaque called calculus is allowed to sit on the teeth and gums, it irritates the gums and causes them to pull away from the teeth. It may appear that you have receding gums, but your gums have begun to separate from the teeth causing what is known as periodontal pockets. These pockets between the teeth and gums collect more plaque that contains bacteria as well as calculus as you are not able to thoroughly clean it out below your gum line where it lies. Coming into the office regularly along with good oral health home care can help prevent periodontal disease; however if you have not seen us in a while and/or do not have a regular oral hygiene routine and notice your gums are swollen, appear to be receding, and bleed easily, make an appointment right away! When periodontal disease is allowed to progress without treatment, it will no longer just affect the outside support structure (your gums), but your bone supporting your teeth will begin to disintegrate eventually causing tooth loss. A deep cleaning will be needed to treat periodontal disease; this specific type of cleaning is usually only covered by insurance at a percentage instead of 100% like a “normal” cleaning called a prophylaxis. If periodontal disease progresses and you experience tooth loss, replacing missing teeth is not an inexpensive dental procedure.
- Use Lincoln Dental Plans if you don’t have dental insurance – Lincoln Dental Plans is a plan specifically for patients who do not have dental insurance. For a very reasonable price, you and your family can receive two cleanings and exams a year in addition to necessary x-rays and a discount on any needed treatment. Lincoln Dental Plans can help you keep your dental treatment affordable and your mouth healthy!
- Use dental payment plans – In addition to working with your insurance or offering discounts through Lincoln Dental Plans for uninsured patients, we also offer convenient payment options and dental payment plans to help you pay for treatment and keep dentistry affordable. Using a dental payment plan can help you get the treatment necessary to restore your oral health without the stress of worrying how you will pay for it all at once.
- Find a low cost dentist at a public health clinic or the college of dentistry – If you do not have dental insurance or are on a tight budget and no other options will work for you, seeking a public health clinic or dental college can be a good option for you. You will still receive quality dental care, but at a lower cost. Usually the exchange for low cost dental care at a public health clinic or a dental college will be your time. At a dental college, for example, dental students are usually the ones performing the work under the supervision of their professors. Because they are still in school, a professor must come check their work after each step of a procedure. If the professor is with another student, this will mean waiting until he or she is available. A simple appointment for one or two fillings may cost a bit less, but you could be there for about four hours as opposed to one hour at a regular dental office.
Saving money and taking care of yourself makes for a win-win situation. To make an appointment at one of our three convenient locations, click here!