The thought of paying for dental care can almost be as painful as the throbbing toothache you need fixing. You’ve probably avoided the dentist for as long as you can. Let’s face it — who enjoys getting their teeth drilled, pulled, and filled? And then there’s the cost — proper dental care is expensive. And even with dental insurance, dental bills can come with an eye-watering price tag.
Unfortunately, avoiding the dentist because you can’t afford it rarely pays off in the long run. What may start as a small, inexpensive cavity to fix could end up requiring a root canal costing thousands of dollars. So, getting help to pay for dental care can save you money and keep a smile that you’re proud of.
Knowing where to look to get help paying for dental care can be challenging. Most medical insurance doesn’t cover dental work. And issues with your teeth and gums can flare up without warning. This could mean that you need to find money fast to pay the dentist’s bill.
It can be even more challenging to pay for dental care if you’ve got bad credit. You could find it impossible to get medical credit cards or a personal loan to cover the cost of essential work on your teeth.
This article helps you find out what the best ways for dental treatment are. You’ll also learn out to save money on the cost of essential dental procedures.
The Cost of Paying for Dental Care
It’s challenging to pay for dental care if you’re on a low income, at college, or got a ton of financial responsibilities. According to a 2020 study, The average cost of dental treatment increased by 27 percent in the decade up to 2016. In one year, the total dental expenditure almost topped $100 billion.
WebMD reports that many Americans skip going to the dentist due to cost. Even for people with private medical insurance, the high cost of dentist visits stops many people from making appointments.
However, dental care is on the minds of most people. In 2019, most people in the U.S. said that oral health was top of their health-related priorities. Oral health even topped mental health, diet, and exercise.
How can you get help paying for dental care? Please read on to find out.
Dental Insurance — What You Need to Know
A dental insurance plan is an excellent way to care for your dental health. It doesn’t matter what age you are — taking out a dental insurance policy looks after preventive dental care. Many of the best dental plans cover 100 percent of the cost of checkups, X-rays, cleaning.
Additionally, pricier dental procedures like fillings, crowns, bridges, extractions, and root canals will be more affordable with dental insurance.
The most significant benefit of getting dental insurance is that it encourages you to care for your teeth and gums. In many cases, preventative care reduces the need for expensive dental procedures.
Please read this article on the basics of dental insurance to find out to protect your oral health.
How to Get Help Paying for Dental Treatment
What about paying for dental care if you can’t afford to pay for it all at once? Some options to help pay for dental procedures include payment plans, getting a medical credit card, taking out a dental loan, or getting a 0% APR credit card.
Payment plans to pay for dental care
Many dentists offer payment plans to let you pay for dental work in installments. Dividing the cost of the treatment into monthly payments can make getting your teeth sorted more affordable. Enquiring about payment plans is ideal for procedures that dental insurance doesn’t cover.
Payment plans vary from dentist to dentist. So, it’s essential to speak with your dentist. Find out about the payment terms and interest rates, so you understand precisely what you’re paying for. It’s also good to know if they run a credit check.
Apply for a medical credit card
Paying for dental care can be easier on the pocket by using a medical credit card. A medical card is only used to pay for health and dental-related costs. You will have to use an in-network dentist’s office and be approved for the card.
Shop around for a medical credit card that offers deferred interest. With these cards, you don’t incur any additional fees if you pay off the balance within the time limit. However, it’s wise to read the small print. Some cards add on all the interest you accrued from the start if you don’t clear the balance by a specified time.
Another option to pay for dental work is to take out a credit card with an introductory 0% APR. Usually, you have at least 12 months to clear the balance without paying interest. This means that you can get an interest-free loan to cover dental care costs — if you stick to the terms and conditions.
It’s good to remember that — as with applying for any credit card — the provider will run a credit check.
Use a health savings account (HSA)
Another way to finance dental care is to use your Health Savings Account. With the HSA, you can save pre-tax money to pay for medical expenses, including dental work. You can use your savings to pay for co-pays or any dental treatment not covered in your dental insurance.
There are limits on how much you can save every year. But because you are saving pre-tax money, you help lower the overall cost of going to the dentist.
Take out a personal loan
In some cases, you can take out an unsecured personal loan to pay the dentist’s bill. However, getting reasonable interest rates depends on your credit score. Additionally, you usually end up paying more for the total cost of the procedures.
How to Pay for Dental Care with Bad Credit
But what if you’ve got bad credit, and you can’t afford to pay for dental care? Even if you have insurance, you may need to find ways to make specific procedures more affordable.
Here are two options to help pay for costly dental work.
Shop around for a cheaper dentist
It always pays to shop around to find a cheaper dentist. The cost of dental procedures varies from clinic to clinic. So, you could compare various quotes to find the cheapest one. Alternatively, you could see if there are dental schools in your area. At these schools, you can get dental work done under professional supervision at a fraction of the cost.
Negotiate to lower the cost of dental work
One way to lower your dental bill is to negotiate the total cost before starting treatment. Some dentists offer discounts to people without insurance. Also, if they realize your financial situation, they may be inclined to drop the cost.
It’s also vital that your dentist explains what is involved with the treatment. You should find out which procedures are absolutely necessary, or is there extra, non-essential work included. You can also check here with the Fair Health Consumer Database on the average cost of treatment. This information can give you leverage to negotiate a lower bill.
Paying for dental care: The bottom line
Looking after your teeth and gums is essential —unfortunately, it’s also expensive. Dental insurance can help care for dental health and prevent costly procedures. For dental work not covered by insurance, there are various financing options available. However, always carefully read the small print to make sure you don’t pay more than you need to for dental care.