Most people know that going to the dentist can be expensive, and if you’re caught without insurance, you could be stuck with a massive bill, especially in the case of an emergency. But there are ways you can plan and prepare financing in order to avoid what could be an extremely stressful financial situation.
It is entirely possible to afford even expensive surgeries and procedures with insurance coverage and CareCredit. But you should always keep some emergency money aside in case you need a procedure that’s not covered.
The following are some options that will help you plan, budget, and finance your dental visits.
Dental procedures typically cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars and rarely do people have that as “spare change” lying around. So don’t be embarrassed if you don’t. While dentists will be somewhat sympathetic to your situation, most of the time they’ll expect to be paid up front. So, if a procedure isn’t an emergency one, you’ll want to think twice if you don’t have the money.
To give you an example of how much procedures cost, you can expect to pay:
- $5,000 or more for braces
- $900 per tooth for porcelain veneers
- $25,000 and up for full mouth implants
- $1,300 and up for complete dentures
- $100 and up for a simple cleaning
Most dentists accept some form of dental insurance. Dental plans may come as an option with your work or even separately. You can buy dental insurance from various companies. Like any other type of insurance, your premiums will depend on multiple risk factors. Most people in the U.S. pay approximately $400 annually for dental insurance.
It is always beneficial to have an idea of your dental need before you sign up for dental insurance. If you need a lot of dental services, good dental health insurance might save you a lot even with higher premium. If you only need regular exams and cleaning twice a year, you might pay less without insurance compared to the premium you pay.
Dental insurance can help you a lot with your budget, but don’t let insurance dictate your dental service completely. There are urgent situations that you want to address early even if your insurance are maxed up, so that you can avoid pain and higher cost in the near future. Ask your dentist to give you a treatment plan that can maximize your insurance benefit, but also don’t hesitate to spend money out of pocket if needed. After all, your health is most important and insurance is just to help.
Savings and Loans
There are dentist-specific loans available all over the place but like most loans, be wary: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Quick, “emergency” loans that require no collateral will have high interest and strict repayment plans. If you don’t have insurance, a much better plan is to put aside some money every month, if you can.
If you’ve not already heard about CareCredit, it’s an important option to consider. CareCredit is basically a healthcare credit card and covers not only dental visits but also other medical and even veterinary costs. Many (but not all) healthcare practitioners will accept CareCredit. For dental coverage, it will cover various procedures, including:
- Gum disease treatment
- Some fillings
- Fluoride treatment
What Should You Do?
Every individual and family will have their own way of paying for regular dental visits, but for low-income families, families with children, and older adults especially, it’s critical to have a plan in place. Remember that emergencies can happen too, and getting stuck without a payment option could cause you financial and emotional stress for years to come.
Always check with your dentist before a visit to ensure that you can cover the cost of the visit.