In today’s economy many families are trying to keep dental costs at a minimum. Ignoring dental care and prevention is not the way to save money however, there are several ways to help keep the cost of dental care lower than in the past.
Floss Daily – this is something our dentist tells us to do at home every day. If possible floss twice daily, morning and night. If flossing hasn’t been a daily event for families then begin by flossing twice a week or once every other day, it may even be helpful to put flossing into the nightly bedtime routine. Flossing helps to keep teeth healthy and can help to cut down on needed dental cleanings.
Brush – a dentist will suggest that brushing your teeth after every meal is the best however, not convenient in most peoples schedules. Brushing twice a day and brushing for two full minutes will help keep those cavities and plaque away. Some families have found that the electronic toothbrush is a necessary part of their daily dental care. Most of these such as the Sonic will have a two-minute timer built in. Children love the electronic brushes and will use them till they automatically shut off at the two-minute point.
Dental Cleanings – if appointments have been consistent at the last several cleanings with no dental issues then the 6-month cleaning can be placed out to a cleaning every 12 months instead of every 6. This alone will save as little as $75.00 at my own dental office and as much as $130.00 at many other local dental clinics.
The 6-month check up should continue for patients who have a lot of fillings and several old fillings but as stated if your cleanings and check ups have been good then question the dentist regarding a change to yearly checkups and cleanings.
Pain or Swelling – if pain and swelling occur then an appointment should be made with your dentist. It is not necessary to make an emergency appointment but an appointment for a few days out may be less expensive in the long run.
X-Rays – need not be taken at every checkup. If the last two checkups had x-rays and they were clear of problems, if there are no indications of cavities then x-rays can be scheduled for every other year.
Rinse – rinsing after meals and snacks can help to keep the bacteria that cause cavities from sitting in the mouth between brushing. This may reduce plaque and according to a study done at Virginia Commonwealth University, “Using mouthwash such as Listerine or a prescription mouthwash named Chlorhexidine can reduce plaque”.
Ask the Dentist – if there are payment plans available for those fillings and other needs. Be honest with your dentist regarding the family’s financial situation.
Finally, if the family lives close to a dental school many of these universities will have programs for students and staff to provide dental care at a severely reduced price. Check on the internet or in the yellow pages for a dental school new you.
The most important tip is that an ounce of prevention can save literally thousands of dollars in dental costs. Flossing, Brushing, Mouthwash, sugar free gum, and checkups will help keep the bills lower than anything else available.