Dental Care Can Be Affordable (With a Little Bit of Planning)
The five biggest ways Americans waste money, according to Hloom.com, are eating out, overspending on alcohol, credit card interest (buying things before you can afford them), clothes, and electricity.
Medical and dental care is not one of those ways. Investing in your body’s health is not a waste of money. It’s a necessity. Yet many Americans hesitate about spending money on their health, at the same time not batting an eye at interest, eating out, or that extra glass of alcohol.
How do you balance what you want and what you need in your budget?
Healthcare is one of the five biggest expenses for Americans. Dental care is a big part of those healthcare expenses, and while you should always budget part of your income on healthcare, we don’t want you to waste a penny. We want you to save money on your dental care.
But we want you to do it right.
We don’t want you to google “how to heal my cavity at home.”
We don’t want you to spend oodles of money on insurance and then be disappointed with your coverage.
And we don’t want you to go to a dentist who doesn’t provide the expert care you and your family deserve.
Instead, we want you to experience the best dental care and have the financial plan to do so.
The best way to handle these expenses is by being proactive. Here are 4 ways to be proactive about your health.
Take care of yourself.
There is a reason health insurance companies, disability companies, and life insurance companies all give discounts to people who are a healthy weight, engage in regular cardio activity, and who don’t abuse tobacco or alcohol. Take a hint from this policy and realize that a big part of your healthcare is in your hands. Your habits can make or break your health. If you don’t take care of your health now, you’ll have to pay for it (no pun intended) later. But it’s never too late to start a new routine and make small, meaningful changes—such as taking a walk each day, cutting back on sugar, and making that long-overdue appointment to see your dentist. You can make a big impact on your health with incremental changes.
Have a plan.
Every healthcare plan should include three things: money set aside for healthcare expenditures and emergencies (like the health savings account that comes with many insurance plans); some kind of safety net, like insurance or an insurance alternative; and regular investments in preventive care.
We won’t say a word against dental insurance. It’s helped many people. However, we think we have a pretty awesome alternative in our Health Savings Plan, which covers many dental treatments and gives a discount on treatment which is less routine. This gives you the safety net every personal health plan should include. Instead of making monthly payments to dental insurance, you’re investing it in the care you know you’re going to need. It’s more like paying yourself, and our coverage is competitive when compared to the coverage of many insurance companies, especially when you add up the monthly premiums you’re paying the insurance companies.
With a health savings plan in place as an alternative to insurance, you can have your own health savings account simply by setting aside a discretionary amount of money for healthcare expenditures.
As dentists, we have to pat ourselves on the back for being so passionate about preventive care. Dentistry is one field of the healthcare industry that practices and educates about prevention to an admirable degree. Perhaps it’s because we know that teeth don’t grow back that we’re so passionate about saving yours. This brings us to point #3.
Prevent, prevent, prevent.
When your dentist encourages you to keep your appointments and accept your care, they truly want to keep your smile its healthiest, happiest, and brightest!
Though we love to restore smiles with expert, caring, modern dentistry, your natural teeth are the best you’ll ever have. Periodontal disease and other dental maladies don’t have to be in your future. We can help you prevent them by training you in dental routine habits and by removing hardened bacteria from your teeth as often as necessary. Dentists are also uniquely positioned to catch symptoms of some diseases because of how familiar they become with your teeth and gums. Some conditions, like oral cancer and diabetes, leave telltale signs in your mouth that only your dentist or hygienist can see. (We would then refer you to your primary care physician).
For example, diabetes is often linked to bleeding gums, especially when you are already doing everything you can to treat periodontitis with your dentist’s and hygienist’s help. Oral cancer leaves tiny white lesions under your tongue that a dentist would be the first to spot.
So keep up the brushing and flossing. And the next time you want to cancel your hygiene preventive appointment, don’t.
Accept your dentist’s recommendations.
Since you’ve been building up your own personal health savings plan, you’ll be ready to move promptly when your dentist recommends care. It’s important to schedule recommended care as soon as possible because early prevention saves teeth, prevents the ravages of periodontitis, and keeps your whole body safer and healthier. Don’t put off dental care. It’s not worth it. You’ll spend more in the long run on restorative dentistry than you would on prevention and early treatment.
By careful planning and thinking ahead, you can save on healthcare, one of the biggest expenses Americans have. You’ll be able to have the best version of your smile and still save. But you’ll do it by investing, not by cheating yourself out of valuable, expert dental care.