How to Find Affordable Dental Care in a Bad Economy

By Susan Braden
Published Jun 09 2010

affordable dental care bad economy

In the wake of a suffering economy, many people are looking for ways to cut down their dentist bills. As affordable dental care seems to become more and more difficult to find, people are seeking low cost alternatives to standard procedures. Here are two options patients consider as they try to cut down the cost of their dentistry work.

Just Pull It?

Without insurance or a discount plan, a root canal alone can cost over $1,000, and receiving a crown can cost just as much! Fillings and bondings are also quite expensive. However, an extraction is typically $1-200 out-of-pocket. For this reason, many people try to receive more affordable treatment by simply getting a tooth pulled whenever they are in pain. An extraction can save a patient money and some pain in the short run, but if the patient desires a tooth implant later to fill the hole, the implant will cost more than a root canal and crown combined!

The actual cost of a tooth extraction is truly just the beginning. Whenever one of your teeth is removed, your surrounding teeth will begin to shift overtime towards the empty gap. This shift will cause additional strain to rest of your mouth. In order to keep your surrounding teeth from shifting, your dentist will recommend that the missing gap should be filled with a replacement tooth. A removable partial denture, which can be quite inconvenient, can easily run $1,500-$2,000. A fixed bridge, permanently attached in your mouth, typically runs at least $2,500. Implants are also quite expensive, costing $1,500-$3,000.

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When you add the “lower” cost of a tooth extraction to the cost of a replacement tooth, most people end up spending more money getting a tooth pulled and replaced than they would've paid to get a root canal and/or crown in the first place. Although a simple extraction may initially seem like a shortcut to affordable care, it often leads to more problems and higher costs long-term.

Using Generic Medications

In an effort to find more affordable care, many patients question if they can take generic prescription medications after receiving treatment, instead of the name-brand ones their dentists prescribe. Using generic medications is actually a great way to lower the cost of your treatment. Generic medications usually have the exact same active ingredients as name-brand prescriptions, but cost much less money.

Overview

Even in this bad economy, not everything that seems to reduce the price of dentistry is worth it. Though choosing generic medications can be a help, just pulling a tooth instead of fixing it should not be an option. In order to find affordable care in your area, talk to your local dental society, who may have a listing of cheap dentistry clinics and other low cost options. You may also want to investigate a discount plan to save even more on your dentistry.

For more affordable dental care tips from Susan Braden, click here.


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