Oral health affects your physical and emotional health because it affects your appearance, relationships, diet, nutrition, and speech. In addition, oral disease can affect other parts of the body and is a contributing factor to some minor diseases. Good oral and dental hygiene helps prevent bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease, and can help you maintain healthy teeth as you age. Therefore, good oral health can help you live longer and have more confidence. Oral health problems affect nearly 3.5 billion people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. That’s why taking care of our oral health is so important! Establishing good oral hygiene and eating habits has been shown to be essential to achieving and maintaining physical and emotional health throughout life.
But taking proper care of your teeth isn’t as simple as brushing and cleaning your teeth morning and night. Good oral health requires more attention. In order to truly maintain healthy gums and teeth and avoid other oral health problems, regular dental care is essential. Poor dental health has also been linked to a host of health problems including diabetes, kidney disease and heart disease. Routine dental check-ups are holistic health care, not just for your teeth.
However, even if you have perfectly healthy teeth, the cost of home dental care can add up — especially if you have young children. The average dentist visit can Cost between $50 and $350 or more, according to Cost Helper, a healthcare cost comparison website. A standard cleaning can cost between $70 and $200, and a root canal can cost up to $1,500. While dental insurance can help cover these costs, many plans have an annual maximum of $2,000.
Get your teeth professionally cleaned every six months (or at least once a year) to avoid future problems and catch pre-existing problems before they become very expensive. Remember: A bill for cavities is easier to swallow than a bill for a root canal, crown, or extraction.
Keep a healthy smile on your budget. Here are some ways to save money on dental care.
Treated at a local dental school
Going to a local dental school for treatment can save you money, and they’re open to everyone – so it’s a great option if you don’t have dental insurance. Dental school services cost much less, and their rates are significantly lower than private clinics. You can also visit a federally Qualified Medical Center (FQHC). The clinics provide medical and dental services to people with incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
Use a Health Savings Account (HSA)
You can use money from your health savings account to pay your dentist’s bills. If you qualify, a savings account allows you to contribute a certain amount of money each year toward tax-free qualifying medical (including dental) expenses. The 2022 HSA contribution limit is $3,650 for individuals and $7,300 for families. However, there is one thing you need to be aware of: Once you enroll in Medicare, you cannot contribute new funds to an HSA. However, you can still use any existing funds in your account to pay for dental services.
You can get a tax credit for a dental plan on HealthCare.gov. People with incomes between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level qualify, and this tax credit can save you hundreds of dollars a year in monthly premiums.
You can only get a line of credit if you buy insurance through the HealthCare.gov marketplace. Without employer coverage or federal premium tax credits, buying dental insurance on your own can be expensive. It might even make sense to drop your dental insurance altogether. We know it sounds crazy, but consider this: You could end up spending more on dental insurance premiums than the cost of a visit to the dentist. Ask your dentist about the cost and frequency of the services you receive, i.e. dental cleanings, X-rays, and examinations. You may find it cheaper to pay your own way. If this is the case, put the same amount into a health savings account or regular bank account for your next visit to the dentist.
See a dental hygienist
At least 42 states allow dental hygienists to treat patients without special authorization or without a dentist present. In many states, you can save a lot of money by having a hygienist clean, examine, X-ray, and apply sealant, or fluoride treatment for you.
Check out veterans’ benefits
If you are a veteran with a work-related dental disability, you may be able to get dental care from the Department of Veterans Affairs. CouponBirds, a popular American coupon website, has put together a collection of veteran discounts. You can see if there is a dental discount here.
Get the cash discount
If you pay your bill in cash at the dentist, some dentists will give a specific discount on the cost of their services – 10% is common. Don’t forget to ask the dentist’s receptionist or bookkeeper if there is a discount.
Routine dental care and regular visits to the dentist are the most cost-effective ways to reduce the cost of dental care. Prevention is invaluable, brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, cleaning between your teeth, maintaining a healthy diet, and going to the dentist can help keep your body healthy and your dental bills down.
Using these tips properly, a bright smile and healthy teeth don’t have to cost much. By practicing good oral hygiene and seeing your dentist regularly for dental care, you can do your best to maintain a healthy mouth and a happy life.
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