I am a dental hygienist and have been working in a dental office for the past 10 years now, SO if anyone knows how you can save money at the dentist it's me :).
1. Brush and floss - SERIOUSLY! You will save a fortune! If your mouth and gums are healthy, it means you won't have gingivitis, periodontal disease or cavities. I see this all the time! People who don't floss daily are more likely to get decay (cavities) in-between their teeth, and cavities cost money! Gingivitis and periodontal disease mean your gums are diseased and you need to come for more frequent cleanings (more $)...
2. If you have a cavity or need work done - get it done ASAP! Why do I say this? If you have a cavity get it fixed ASAP so it doesn't grow in size. If it grows, it costs more to fix it because more decay will be removed, more tooth structure removed and more time will be needed to get it fixed. Get the idea? If the dentist or dental hygienist suggests a crown to make a tooth stronger - get it done! If you don't, the tooth could chip and fracture, meaning you need to pay more money to fix it or having it extracted (if it's fractured so bad it can't be saved) when you could have prevented it in the first place.
3. Know your insurance - read that manual! Know it like the back of your hand. Know how often you are covered for cleanings, crowns, bridges, periodontal scaling, etc. and get it done. Insurance is based per year so if you know your coverage and need a lot of work done, you can get as much done as you can for that year (max out your insurance) and wait for the following year to quickly take care of the rest.
4. Ask for a discount - no harm done! You won't get it if you don't ask. If you don't have insurance, don't be afraid to let your dentist know money is tight and more often he/she will be happy to give you a discount. Not all dentists are all about the money - we are about your health, so if giving you a discount and payment plan helps you get the work done (to ensure health of your mouth = overall health) we will be happy to do so.
Prevention is key! If you brush, floss, and eat right (limit sugar) this will prevent you from having further issues. Overall health is tied into your mouth health so if your mouth is diseased in any way (yes having a cavity is a DISEASE) your overall health will suffer. All that bacteria will travel through your bloodstream and could cause other issues.
Hope this helps! Now go to the dentist for a check up and visit your hygienist for a good teeth cleaning :).
*I work for Dr. Jack Bottner in London ON - our main goal is educating our patients about their oral health and making their gums/teeth as healthy as possible. A few simple steps listed above will go a long way!
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