Americans’ spending on dental care has risen significantly according to a 2017 government report. While many of us are covered by dental insurance, seldom does this insurance cover the full cost of dental care. Even adjusted for inflation, the cost of dental care has risen to an annual average cost of $696 per person per year. After retirement, many seniors are surprised to learn that Medicare often doesn’t cover routine dental visits, and costly procedures like oral surgery and root canals are seldom covered. For those on a fixed income, this can make good dental care completely out of range for them. 

A few tips can help you save money on dental care for you and your family. 

Prevention. Practice oral hygiene faithfully. Floss your teeth twice daily–faithfully! In addition, brush your teeth thoroughly at least twice a day with a toothpaste that includes floride. In addition, as your parents told you, avoid sugary drinks and foods as much as possible, eat healthy foods, and drink plenty of water.

Get covered by insurance if you can. Take advantage of any dental insurance offered through your employer, and determine whether you’re eligible for insurance through the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, or the Department of Veterans Affairs.  You might be surprised to learn you’re eligible for more than you assistance than you think. 

Consider setting up a dental health savings plans. These accounts can be a very good option for those who can’t obtain insurance coverage. The networks charge a small annual fee  for participation, but they’re much better than simply hoping for the best with your teeth every year. 

Investigate community dental schools and community health centers.  Both of these options frequently offer low-cost dental care under the supervision of well-trained dentists. 

Bargain hunt. allows you to search for the cost of procedures you need and compare prices. Sometimes, your own dentist will provide a discount on services if you’re struggling, and they often know where reduced cost services are available in your community. If you’re not comfortable discussing this with your dentist, sometimes his/her assistants can also refer you. 

Avoid treatments that aren’t a necessity. If you’re in doubt, always ASK!  X-rays, for example, are often overused according to Consumer Reports. Choose wisely.


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