Dentistry on a Budget
American Dental Care
Starting in this year, the majority of Americans will have some form of healthcare. While the new federal healthcare plan covers a number of healthcare costs including visions and dental coverage for children, the plan does not include dental coverage for adults. It is estimated that more than 100 million Americans dental don’t visit the dentist annually because they are unable to afford it. Even those with health insurance through an employer often do not have dental coverage.
These individuals are often left to suffer with easily preventable and treatable conditions until their pain becomes unbearable or the condition threatens their health. Many end up going to hospital emergency rooms (ER) to receive care; however most ERs are not staff with dentists and are only able to provide pain medication and address infections. in this year alone, nearly 1 million ER visits were patients seeking dental care for preventable dental conditions or ongoing dental care. Given the links between poor oral health and diseases including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, respiratory disease and cancer, maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial. Below are just a few of the ways a number of dental practices across the country are trying to make visiting the dentist more affordable.
Minimally Invasive Dentistry
One of the ways many dentists are helping to save their patients money is through the practice of minimally invasive dentistry, a modern dental practice centered on the management of dental diseases that cause tooth decay as opposed to more traditional dentistry that focuses on treating the decay after it has developed. Minimally invasive dentistry achieves this by first controlling and curing these diseases; then by restoring the tooth; then filling only where necessary; and finally by preventing any future dental diseases. Not only is minimally invasive dentistry improving patients oral health, it is also improving patients overall health and making dental care more affordable for those without dental insurance.
Minimally invasive dentistry aims to preserve as much of a patient’s natural teeth as possible, and the integrity of each tooth’s structure. This means detecting and treating cavities and gum disease as early as possible. Because these oral health issues are being treated earlier, the procedures required to remedy them are much less invasive. As a result they not only cost the patient less, but often a patient can have multiple procedures in a single office visit, reducing the number of office visits the patient must make and amount of time they must miss work to have the procedures done.
Once a patient’s oral health has been improved, the focus of minimally invasive dentistry shifts to helping the patient maintain good oral health. By visiting a dentist a minimum of every 6 months for a routine checkup and cleaning, along with regular brushing and flossing, most patients can maintain good oral health and avoid costly dental procedures down the road.
Dental Discount Plans
Another way many dentists are helping patients afford proper dental care is by offering dental discount plans. Designed for individuals, families and groups looking to save money on their dental care needs, dental discount plans differ from dental insurance in that they are often less expensive. In addition, a dental discount plan does not pay for a patients dental procedures like insurance does, but rather provide the patient a discounted rate on those procedures. Typically these discounts range anywhere from 10% to 60% depending on the plan. Dentists that offer dental discount plans have agreed to accept a discounted fee from plan members as payment-in-full for services performed. One of the advantages of a dental discount plan over insurance is that often a patient will know in advance how much each procedure they receive will cost and can budget accordingly. In addition, unlike most dental insurance plans, dental discount plans have no annual limits so those needing a number of dental procedures do not need to worry about exceeding a plan limit as with dental insurance.
The cost of dental discount plans and the coverage they provide can vary greatly depending on the plan, the dentist and your location, so it is very important to know all the details of each plan and to find the plan that fits your needs the best.
In addition to dental discount plans and minimally invasive dentistry, another way many dentists are trying to make dental care more affordable for patients is by offering payment plans or dental financing. Originally, dental financing was restricted to cosmetic dental procedures such as dental veneers or dental implants, both of which are often considered elective procedures. Thanks to the success of these dental financing plans for elective procedures, many dental offices began offering financing for mandatory procedures either independently or through a third party financing company. These financing plans not only allow patients to received needed dental care, but also allow them to pay it off over time instead of being required to pay at the time the services are rendered.
Our team at Rocky Mountain Dental Partners which practices minimal invasive dentistry and has great discount/financing plans, believes a great smile is priceless and everyone deserves the look and feel that great smile can bring. We are available to answer any questions and help our patients achieve the smile they have always wanted. Please visit our website for more information.