Front Desk

Some people complain about the cost of dental care. With employers offering reduced dental insurance coverage, patients want to know what they can do to cut down on out-of-pocket expenses. There are several simple ways to cut costs without sacrificing your dental well-being. In fact, these tips can also help you live a longer, healthier life.

In our office, the average cost of preventive dental care per year is $419 (2 exams, 2 adult cleanings and 1 set of bite-wing x-rays). Compare that to the average cost of one filling–$255; or one crown–$1300. Money spent on preventive care translates into long-term savings and extends your life.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

• Help practice good oral hygiene

Brushing and flossing regularly helps prevent many types of infections.  Brush your teeth at least twice a day to avoid tooth decay and gum disease, which can spread infection to other parts of the body.

• Keep at an ideal weight and make sure you get plenty of exercise
Obesity leads to a host of problems such as diabetes, heart disease and other medical disorders. Maintaining good oral hygiene can prevent greater problems associated with these diseases and disorders.  Reduce the amount of sugary foods, drink plenty of water rather than fruit juices or soft drinks, and rinse after eating sticky or sugary foods.  Find a high quality diet and stick with it.

• Keep current on maintaining a regular schedule of check-ups
Don’t wait until a tooth hurts or chips or breaks.  Maintain a regular schedule of dental check-ups and reduce the incidence of dental emergencies which can be costly.

• Consider preventive measures
To reduce wear and chipping from grinding and clenching teeth, wear an occlusal guard while sleeping and even during the day when stress levels are at their highest.  And for you athletes, invest in a properly fitting athletic guard.

If you pay close attention, you can discover problems and treat them before they cause huge dental bills, or worse, irreparable damage to your dental health.

• Be observant
Changes in your mouth can indicate a dental or health problem.

• Do a sniff test
It may sound strange, but odors can be revealing.  If you have foul breath, it may indicate oral disease or some other health problems.

No matter how diligent you are, it is important to have a dentist’s help.

• Commit to regular check-ups
Even though your mouth seems healthy, a thorough exam may detect problems–especially in older patients.  Be prepared to offer a history of your illnesses, injuries and medications.

• Ask about ways to save
Ask about discounts and payment plans.  Ask for free samples.

• Try a dental school
Some may offer clinics at reduced costs.

• Don’t be afraid to ask questions
Remember, you are speaking on your behalf.  Don’t leave the dentist’s office without a clear picture of your oral health.