Believe it or not, nearly 91 percent of adults have some degree of tooth decay. But getting that decay treated comes at a cost.
Dental appointments are expensive. Even a simple cleaning can set you back more than $100. So, what do you do if you need to schedule an appointment but can’t afford dental work?
Should you forgo getting treatment? Absolutely not!
Try these strategies to help you get the dental care you need without blowing your budget to smithereens.
Look for Dentists That Offer Financing
When you think of going to the dentist, you probably assume you have to pay the full amount up-front after your treatment. While this is the case with some dental practices, it’s not true for every single one.
Some dentists offer in-house financing or payment plans that allow you to pay for your treatments over time.
Most of these plans function much like a loan. You apply for financing through the dentist’s office. If you’re approved, you repay your treatment cost plus any interest accrued. They will check your credit score and determine an interest rate based on that score.
The higher your score is, the lower your interest rate will be.
But if you’re lucky, you may be able to find a dentist that offers a simple payment plan through their office. In some instances, you may not even have to pay interest — you just pay off what you owe in monthly installments.
Take Out a Personal Loan
If your dentist doesn’t offer financing, you can always take out a personal loan to cover the cost of your treatments.
You apply for personal loans on your own and can do it prior to receiving any treatments. During the application process, you’ll need to provide proof of income and authorize the lender to run a credit check.
The lender will then determine how much of a loan you’ll qualify for based on your income and credit score. In most cases, it will be more than enough to cover the cost of your dental work.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to borrow the full amount. View this page to learn about the types of treatments you might need and borrow only what those treatments cost.
The last thing you want to do is borrow more than you need. It hurts your credit score and you’ll end up paying more in interest over the life of the loan.
Search for a Dental School Near You
Dentists have to learn how to treat different conditions and different types of patients. And they do this by getting hands-on experience in their dental school programs.
Most dental schools over low-cost treatment options if you’re willing to receive the treatment from a student. Every treatment, no matter how minor, gets overseen by a licensed and experienced dentist. But the student does most of the work.
Sound risky? It’s not. Before they can start seeing patients, the students have to prove themselves in the classroom. And since there’s always an experienced dentist in the room, you’re in great hands.
The end result is an affordable treatment option. You’re helping aspiring dentists learn their trade and, in return, get a great discount for each appointment.
Believe it or not, different dentists charge different prices for their services. This means that if you can’t afford treatment at one office, you may be able to afford treatment at another.
Don’t be afraid to shop around and get prices from several dentists. You can do this even if you don’t have insurance.
By comparing the prices they offer, you’ll be better prepared to choose the best option for your needs.
Ask About Discounts
When you can’t afford dental work, it’s important to look for ways you can save money wherever possible. But most people don’t realize that you can always ask your dentist about current promotions or discounts.
Throughout the year, many dentists offer discounts on regular cleanings and basic dental work. Often, these discounts coincide with the start of the school year. Other times, it could be a discount marketed to new patients.
If you ask, you may qualify for those discounts, even if you’re a returning patient.
They may also be able to save you money based on how you pay. If you’re paying cash up-front, you’re sparing them the cost of the credit card transaction. Often, they’ll pass those savings onto you.
Save Your Spare Change
Every little bit can make a huge difference, so start saving the little stuff.
Anytime you make a cash purchase, save the change. Put it in an envelope or jar and use those savings for your next dental visit. If it’s not enough, you can always combine it with another form of payment — think credit cards or personal loan — to decrease how much you’ll have to pay off.
Over the course of the year, you’ll feel surprised at how much you can save by just tossing your extra coins in a jar.
Make Regular Cleanings a Priority
Preventative maintenance is the best way to avoid costly dental appointments. And it almost always begins with dental cleanings.
Make those cleanings a priority and schedule them twice a year like clockwork. When you consistently clean your teeth and practice good dental hygiene throughout the rest of the year, you’ll have less tooth decay to deal with.
With less decay, you’ll need less dental work, saving you hundreds of dollars each year.
Don’t Panic If You Can’t Afford Dental Work
When you can’t afford dental work, it’s easy to panic and avoid scheduling an appointment altogether. But doing so puts your health and your wellbeing at risk.
Take a deep breath and try these tips if you find that money’s a bit tight. If you’re patient and determined to make it work, you’ll be able to find a dentist you can afford to see more than once every few years.
Looking for more tips to help you save money? Check out our latest posts.