If the eyes are the windows to your soul, then the mouth is the window to your overall health. Your oral health may only involve your teeth, gums, and mouth. However, did you know that it can offer you a lot of information about your overall health and well-being?
Problems in your mouth can have a significant impact on the rest of your body, making it more important than you think. That said, to ensure overall oral health, regular trips to the dentist are essential. However, people may often skip going to the dentist for two reasons–either they’re scared, or it’s costly. In fact, statistics show that Americans pay as much as USD$350 for a single visit; for Australians, that’s an average cost of AUD$374.
While you may want to save your money for other things instead of going to the dentist, neglecting professional oral check-ups and treatments shouldn’t be an option. Fortunately, there are simple ways that can help you save good cash when it’s time to visit the dentist.
- Look Up Government-Funded Dental Care
The Australian government works with territory and state governments to fund dental services for the public. They have public dental clinics, which are taxpayer-funded dental clinics run by the state or local health departments or by public health centers that obtain grants from the federal government. Treatment provided by public dental clinics may include specific general dental treatments and emergency dental care.
Take note, however, that public dental care is only available to a limited portion of the Australian population. In general, adults should have a healthcare card or a Centrelink pensioner concession card to qualify. Depending on which territory or state you live in, dental treatments may require partial payment or totally free of charge. You should know that the waiting list to receive treatment can vary, sometimes taking up to years.
In addition, the government can also offer programs and vouchers like Oral Health Fee For Service Scheme (OHFFSS). This scheme offers an alternative way for eligible individuals to get dental treatment from a private practitioner registered with this scheme like Dentex. The type of voucher issued will depend on the dental needs of the client as assessed by a public dentist. Dentex offers this guide to help you learn more about this dental care program.
- Stay On Top Of Your Oral Hygiene
One of the best ways to reduce the cost of your dental care is to keep up with your oral hygiene. Following the basic dental health practices and preventive habits can reduce your chances of developing tooth decay, gum diseases, and serious oral health problems that are painful, embarrassing, and costly to treat. Plus, it also ensures that you get a healthy smile and fresh breath all the time.
You probably already know how to keep your oral hygiene, but here are some reminders in case you forget:
- Brush your teeth 2–3 times a day with fluoride toothpaste.
- Use mouthwash as needed.
- Floss every day to clean in-between teeth.
- Don’t forget to brush your tongue.
- Don’t eat too much sugary foods and drinks.
- Visit your dentist for routine cleanings and examinations at least twice a year.
- Avoid or stop smoking and/or drinking alcoholic beverages.
- Get Dental Insurance
Most experts recommend having dental insurance to help cover the cost of your dental treatments. Getting insurance is particularly valuable if you have a family and kids.
If you have Medicare insurance, that might not cover the costs of most dental services. That said, it does pay for some essential dental procedures for eligible kids and adults. For instance, Medicare may pay AUD$1,000 over two calendar years for kids aged 2–17 for common dental procedures including cleaning, check-ups, X-rays, sealing of cracked teeth, extractions, root canals, and fillings. However, it doesn’t cover cosmetic or orthodontic dental work or any dental treatment provided in a hospital.
If Medicare won’t cover your dental care needs, you can get private health insurance. Even the most basic dental insurance policy should cover all your preventive care needs, such as cleanings, check-ups, and x-rays. However, for complex or major dental procedures, you may have to pay a portion of the treatment cost.
Take note that when your dental costs go over your insurance’s limit, you’ll need to pay for your dentist visits for the rest of the year.
- Compare Dentists
There’s no reason to stick to a specific dentist if they’re charging you a high cost for your treatments. Similar to researching before buying an expensive item, you can also look for more affordable dentists.
In general, if you need a major procedure, you can ask your current dentist about the procedure and its cost. You can then get a second opinion from another dentist and ask for their pricing for comparison. If you’re not satisfied, you can ask more dentists to gain more insights.
That said, always look for a dental practice that provides transparent pricing and asks for their treatment plan options and costs. Some experts also recommend asking for any payment plan options and if they have any discount offers. You can also ask a dentist if they offer sliding scale fees, which helps match your dental care costs with your income. This scheme can help reduce your overall dental care cost.
- Visit Dental Schools
Every state has a local dental school full of students who need hands-on training before they can graduate. Visiting a local dental school may help you save money on dental treatments, and they are open to everyone.
Dental schools often have much lower costs of services. You can pay only half or less for filling, root canals, and other services compared to what private dental clinics charge. While these services are provided by dental students, procedures are done under the supervision of a dentist. So, you don’t have to worry about the safety and quality of the procedure.
Regular visits to the dentist mean healthy teeth and mouth. It ensures that you never experience the pain and discomfort that comes with a tooth infection and gum disease, while also reducing your risk for alarming health issues.
While the high cost of dental procedures may cause you to think twice about visiting your dentist, the guide in this blog should help you get the regular dental care you need for less money.