How to Curtail Your Dental Expenses

How to Curtail Your Dental Expenses
  • Opening Intro -

    Visits to the dentist can set you back several hundred dollars for just an oral exam and a cleaning.

    Have two or three cavities filled or seek out other work beyond the basics and your bill can easily top $1,000.


Unless you have dental insurance, you could be faced with an expense that you had not reckoned on paying. Here is how you can curtail your dental expenses without giving up on dental visits.

1. See your dentist twice annually. One certain way to keep your dental expenses down is to schedule regular visits to see your dentist. It is the preventive work that he or she does that can help you avoid bigger and more costlier problems later on. The maxim, “pay me now or pay me (big) later,” holds true here.

2. Take care of your teeth. Brush your teeth twice daily — morning and evening — flossing your teeth once daily. Along with your dentist check ups, you can prevent problems from worsening by alerting your doctor the moment you find something odd such as bleeding gums, loose teeth or persistent sores in your mouth.

3. Get dental insurance. If your employer offers dental insurance, sign up for that plan. You may pay a co-pay and have a regular withdrawal from your paycheck to cover your part of the insurance costs. That’s still cheaper than buying it on your own, an expense that can average $125 per month for a family of four.

4. Shop around for service. Without insurance, you need to find dentists that accept cash payments including credit card charges. Though most dentists won’t publish their prices, they’ll furnish same if you ask. Compare rates across the board including for filling cavities, root canals, bridge work and the like. Your dentist also may be willing to negotiate a price especially if you ask.

5. Seek discounted rates. Many dentists offer customers a group rate discount if they do not have insurance. You can usually get this rate if you, your spouse and your children use this dentist. Dentists are typically small business owners, not large medical practices, and have some flexibility when it comes to pricing.

6. Budget your dental expenses. Consumers should set aside money for health and dental expenses just as they do for college, retirement, vacation and other expected expenses. You know that you will be hit with expenses each year, therefore make it a habit to save money as you go. You may not be able to curtail your expenses in entirety, but you will be able to anticipate your costs and pay as you go without going into debt.

Special Considerations

If you cannot afford dental visits, your local college may be able to help out, especially one with a school of dentistry. Dental students work with qualified dentist/instructors to learn how to clean teeth, fill cavities, and handle a variety of dental chores. The cost for such patient care services is nominal — you simply agree to be a willing experiment in exchange for receiving low-cost service.

See AlsoHow to Find Affordable Dental Insurance


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Categories: Consumer Tips

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".