While each of us wants high oral health standards, there are also concerns about the high cost of procedures nowadays. Statistics indicate that each dental patient provides, on average, slightly under $900 to his or her dentist per year. The life-time costs are therefore enormous. Much of these costs are hidden in terms of group insurance, the impact of which is felt through co-payments and purchases of dental care products.
One way to save money at the dentist is to make sure that you’re getting the right amount of work done on your teeth, and not more. Whenever your dentist recommends a procedure, take a proactive stance by asking about alternative treatments, the costs of both the primary and alternative treatment, and most importantly, a comparison of the benefits between primary and alternatives. That is, if procedure B costs 50% less but can achieve 80% of the results, then your budget may accommodate procedure B much more easily.
A case might adhere to the following scenario. A patient might come into the office with a large cavity, meaning substantial parts of the tooth have been eaten away by decay and major work is required. The dentist should offer two options. The first option is both a filling of the cavity and a crown to fully seal and protect the tooth from structural damage, as well as improve its look. The second option is to fill the cavity with a non-metal substance so it looks natural, and leave it at that. The second option is much less expensive.
There are also some elective procedures that one can either forgo or modify. One good example is teeth whitening. Whitening can be done via the classical, traditional way with carbamide peroxide soaking. New treatments using lasers have started to spring up also. However, many people find that the laser cleaning, while more expensive, offers only marginally better results than peroxide. This is a patient-by-patient decision.
One big expense that recurs is the purchase of regular oral hygiene products such as manual and electric toothbrushes, gum massagers, bristles, replacement brush heads, floss etc. Refrain from buying at supermarkets and instead head to a wholesale supplier such as Sam’s Club. Buy in bulk to save money. Be sure to replace toothbrushes often as older bristles deteriorate in ability to remove plaque.
Electrical toothbrushes are a convenience because of their high speed and power at removing plaque. But the prices vary quite a bit. There’s room to shop around for one that suits both your purposes and your budget. For example, a rechargeable base costs extra but saves batteries. However, considering that batteries need to be changed only once every 9 months means that effectively over the life of the toothbrush the rechargeable base may cost more.