Penny Pincher’s Guide: How to Save Money on Dental Work in 2019

woman getting dental work

We all want dazzling teeth, but so many of us can’t afford the hefty price tag that comes with it. Dentists recommend we go for a check-up every six months, but sometimes we encounter emergency dental problems that cost a fortune.

There are, however, many ways we can forgo the eye-watering bill and keep your savings for a dream vacation or as a back-up fund. Here are tips on how to save money on dental work.

1. Take Preventative Measures

A simple way to save on dental procedures is to ensure you are taking good care of your teeth. Regular brushing and flossing will decrease the chances of having to get fillings. Another solution, great for kids, is to have a dental sealant which prevents 60% of decay at one-third of the cost of filling a cavity.

Also, keep a balanced diet to protect your teeth by providing them with the right nutrients. You can do this by limiting your sugar intake, taking vitamins and drinking plenty of water throughout the day. 

2. Triage

If you need more dental work than expected, ask your dentist which procedures are urgent and which ones can wait. If your dentist knows you’re tight on funds, she or he may recommend temporary fixes to hold you over until a permanent fix is possible. 

3. Ask for a Cash Discount

It sounds cheeky but you can ask for a dentist cash discount if you’re paying cash. Since you’ll be saving him credit card fees and billing hassles, he’ll most likely agree. Emphasize that you can pay full up-front so he knows that you’re reliable and making a serious offer.

4. Get Dental Insurance 

Buying dental insurance can save you money if you know you’ll be in the dentist chair often. Make sure you can postpone treatment until the policy is valid and verify that it covers your treatment.

5. Buy a Dental Discount Plan

Another way to save on dental care is to buy a dental discount plan. This is an option if your employer doesn’t offer dental insurance or if the premium ones are out of your budget. A dental discount plan means you pay a small, one-time fee each year (around $100) and all your dental work will be discounted.

6. Go to a Dental School

If you want a super discount on your dental care, consider having cleaning and work done at a dental school. Students (under the supervision of instructors) will undertake the procedure and you only have to pay a fraction of the normal cost.

Dental schools offer a variety of treatments such as crowns, fillings, implants, braces, and whitening, so check up a local school near you.

7. Visit Dental Care Events

For those who want to save dental, there are many events that offer free dental care nationwide. Sometimes at large-venue events, thousands of people are treated in a day or over the weekend. Many dentists offer a free exam, cleaning, extraction, and other dental procedures.  

8. Use Coupons

Many dentists send coupons in the mail or you can find them on To find a coupon, type in your zip code or city name and narrow the results by adding “dentist” to your search. You’ll find many deals offering an exam, x-rays, and cleaning for as low as $48.

9. Use Online Reviews

Checking out dentist reviews gives you a better idea of their rates and services. You should create a list of acceptable dentists and call the office directly to ask about a specific treatment like dental implants.

10. Be Wary about Corporate Dentists

Corporate and private-practice dentists have major differences. For example, corporate dentists are employees and their bosses are determined they meet quotas and profit goals.

Corporate dentists are less flexible about offering cheaper alternatives and try to up-sell compared to a private practice. Taking to the owner of a practice is far more comfortable when discussing treatment and payment options.

12. Use a Health Savings Account 

A Health Savings Account is another way to save money for your dental work. Finding a suitable Health Savings Account lets you put pre-tax money to the side which you can use for dental care whilst lowering your overall health costs.

The Internal Revenue Service allows money to be saved in an HSA to be used for procedures such as teeth cleaning, apply sealants and fluoride treatments to prevent tooth decay.

12. Go to a Specialist Only When Necessary

Many patients splurge on an appointment with a specialist when a more affordable general dentist is all they need. If you’re getting a wisdom tooth extracted by an oral surgeon, compare costs as it could save you a bundle.

13. Get a Second Opinion

If you go to your dentist with a toothache and he proposes a treatment plan that will cost you hundreds, take a step back. Call another dentist for a second opinion. And when you schedule an appointment, ask for a free consultation to avoid another exam and bring recent X-rays so you don’t have to pay extra.

Now You Know How to Save Money on Dental Work, Good Luck!

Going to the dentist can be scary not just for the potential discomfort, but because of the potential cost of your treatment. Luckily, there are many ways to prevent this such as searching for coupons, applying for dental insurance and even receiving treatment from student dentists.

Finally, always double-check how much your treatment should cost and compare it with other dentists to ensure you’re getting the best deal. 

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