Dental insurance isn’t always the best idea for everybody. Sometimes the deductibles required, coverage restrictions and other factors make dental insurance simply not worth the costs. This is often especially true if your employer doesn’t provide insurance through your work.
If you don’t have dental insurance, do you have to pay for all dental procedures out-of-pocket? Fortunately, no. Here are five effective, proven ways to save money at the dentist’s office even if you don’t have dental insurance:
Dental School: Receive Care While Helping Students Learn
Many dental schools open their doors to members of the community for low-cost dental care. After all, working on real people with actual dental problems is the best way for students to learn. The American Dental Association has a free tool to help locate a dental school near you.
Only advanced dental students are allowed to perform procedures, and instructors supervise from start to finish. Procedures performed depend on need and the type of school. But don’t be surprised if more complex procedures are sometimes covered.
The major downsides here are time and availability. Appointments are usually limited so you’ll typically have to reserve your spot early. Plus, schools often take a limited number of people. While dental schools offer high-quality services at a low cost, they’re often not a reliable way to obtain dental care year after year.
Dental Clinics: Community Dental Care for Low-Income Families
Often found in low income and rural areas, privately-funded dental clinics offer the community free or low-cost dental care. In many cases, income requirements must be met. Some municipal areas operate their own dental clinic year-round while others offer free dental services at select times during the year.
Free dental clinics can be a real benefit, especially for low-income families. The main downside is distance. Free clinics often serve a large area, so visiting one might require a fairly substantial drive.
Dental Tourism: Travel to Another Country and Save?
Leaving the country for dental treatment is an increasingly popular practice. Over 150 million dental tourists have left the U.S. to seek out dental treatment in Mexico, Canada, India, Cuba and elsewhere. Treatment costs can be significantly cheaper overseas than in America, even accounting for travel expenses.
The trouble with dental tourism is that treatment overseas can be very inconsistent. While some dentists are well-trained and professional, others aren’t. Verifying credentials from afar can be difficult. Plus, follow-up care can be practically impossible. If complications arise later, you might be halfway across the world with no access to the foreign dental office.
Dental Savings Plan: An Affordable Alternative to Dental Insurance
A dental savings plan is a membership club which offers savings between 10% and 60% on a variety of dental procedures at hundreds of thousands of participating dentists throughout the U.S. After purchasing an annual membership, you’ll receive a dental savings card. Simply present this card at any participating dentist for instant savings.
Dental insurance wait times can be up to six months before activation. On the other hand, dental savings plaf are ready to use about two or three days after purchase. You can get the care you need right now, even if the dental problem existed before you enrolled in the savings plan.
A wide variety of dental savings plans are available. You can find a dental discount plan which covers the procedures you need at a dental office near you. Plus, there are no limits to how often you can use the discount card each year.
Dental Savings Options are Available
Some people find that dental insurance makes financial sense for their dental care needs. But many people are searching for dental insurance alternatives. Fortunately, low-cost dental care and dental savings are often easy to find.
Dental schools and dental care clinics can also be effective ways to obtain low-cost dental care, but only if you live in a location which provides those services. Generally, dental tourism is the riskiest and least recommended option due to the high potential for problems.
For most people, dental savings plans are the best option. A dental savings card is easy to use, inexpensive and helps pay for a variety of minor and major dental procedures.
Don’t let a lack of dental insurance keep you from the dental care you deserve. Explore the options above and get started today on a lifetime of great dental health!