By Susan Braden
From your wallet to your mouth itself, going to the dentist can be a real pain. Most people do not enjoy visits to the dentist office and put them off for as long as possible. However, delaying your dentist visit can often lead to more extensive work to get your mouth in shape, and to more exorbitant costs for difficult procedures – not to mention if you have to see a specialist!
Feel stressed? Do not give in to that feeling – you can win at the dentist! Here are 10 tips to prepare you to see the dentist stress-free. Follow these tips to ensure your finances and mouth feel the benefits!
1. Research dentists in your area. Find dentist reviews online and talk to your friends about dentists they trust. Then call the offices you are interested in to find out if they accept your insurance, or, if you do not have insurance, find out what discount dental plan they accept.
2. Visit a general dentist. When you call various dentists, ask if the dentist is considered a general dentist, and ask if he or she performs more complex procedures such as root canals, periodontal work or orthodontia. These procedures will be much less expensive at a general dentist, and they are typically discounted even more substantially if you have a discount dental plan or insurance.
3. Purchase a discount dental plan. Even if you do not have insurance, you can still receive help with your dental bill by purchasing a discount dental plan. These plans are often available immediately to significantly reduce the cost of your dental work.
4. Plan for an exam and cleaning. On your first dental visit, plan to pay for an exam and a cleaning. Your first exam will typically include x-rays at an additional cost, so be prepared to pay for those as well. After your initial exam, your dentist will let you know if you need to return for additional fillings, root canals or periodontal work.
5. Set up a follow-up appointment. Schedule your follow up appointment for a time when you will have the money to pay for your next visit. The nurse can walk you through how much you will be charged on your next visit according to your to your discount dental plan or insurance. Scheduling your follow-up appointment right away will eliminate any procrastination, so determine with your dental office the right time for your next appointment, and do not cancel if possible.
6. Know what you will be charged. The best price breakdown will come from your dental office's assistant – that information will include possible lab fees or items that may not be mentioned on a discount dental plan fee schedule or on an insurance pricing tier. However, you can typically access pricing information online from your discount dental plan or insurance.
7. Investigate Care Credit. If you need a procedure that is still unaffordable after applying your insurance or discount dental plan, investigate purchasing Care Credit. Care Credit allows you to present its card to purchase the dental procedures you need – then you can make payments on it like you would for a credit card. Find out if your dentist offers a payment plan or if they take Care Credit.
8. If you are nervous, then take your mp3 player. If you fear the experience of a dentist working in your mouth, bring an mp3 player to shut out the noise and to focus your mind on something else – but do not forget, no dancing in the dentist chair!
9. Floss and brush at home. Once you have completed your initial appointments and your mouth is back in shape, be sure to practice proper dental hygiene at home. Brush twice a day; floss after meals, and swish mouthwash daily to go the extra mile!
10. Attend regular cleaning and exam appointments. After surviving a possibly tough round of dentist visits, it is tempting to fall back into the bad habit of avoiding visiting your dentist. However, the best way to avoid a huge dental bill in the future is to see your dentist regularly to address any minor dental problems as they arise – rather than waiting for a dental problem to bring your life to a painful halt.
Visiting your dentist does not have to be a losing situation. Understanding your costs for dental work, making plans to save money, and using tools to calm your nerves will allow you to win at the dentist!