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 March 21, 2013  Posted by  Features, Health & Beauty
dental dentist

More than half of Americans (nearly 130 million) go without dental coverage. For some it’s just too expensive. Others believe dental insurance doesn’t provide a great return on investment. But that tiny cavity can turn into serious health problems if left unattended. Yours truly has had so many root canals, one endodontist offered me a frequent-filler plan — no kidding. But there are some ways to save on dental care. Here are six money-saving tips:

1. Join a discount plan: There are more than 100,000 dentists across the country participating in discount dental plans — a low-cost alternative to dental insurance. You can find a local dentist by plugging in your zip code at DentalPlans.com, along with a selection of more than 30 plans that activate within three business days, have no annual limits and offer 10% to 60% off most procedures.

2. Pro-bono dentistry: Check out FreeDentalWork.org for listings on free dental clinic events in your area. You can also look for events through nonprofit organization Dentistry From The Heart — with dentists who donate their time and equipment to provide free dental treatment.

3. Watch for daily deals: Best known for discounts on lifestyle goods, sites such as Groupon and Living Social are starting to help people fill their insurance voids. About one of every 11 deals offered online is for a health care service. If you do take this route, be sure to do a little checking online to ensure the dentist is legit by searching for his or her name  plus “complaints.”

4. Go to a dental school: Some dental schools provide services for significantly less than a dental practice. To find a school in your area, visit the American Dental Association.

5. Search for price breaks: If a nearby dental school is out of the question, check out the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research and click on “Finding Dental Care” for dentists and programs that offer reduced price dental care.

6. Take a vacation: Need a vacation and some dental work done? Organizations such as Companion Global Healthcare specialize in booking dental trips to places such as Costa Rica and India for cheaper dental care outside of the United States.

7. Ask your dentist for a discount: Many medical professionals will give you a break if you pay in cash at the time of service.

Laura Daily

A confirmed coupon clipper, Laura Daily is always on the lookout for ways to save or stretch that hard-earned dollar and prides herself on digging deep to unearth a great deal. She is a consumer strategist reporting for a variety of national publications including AARP The Magazine, AAA World, Consumer Reports Money Adviser, Global Traveler, Shop Smart and Westways and is a correspondent for OnTravel Radio. Laura owns and operates Mile High On The Cheap which covers the Denver/Boulder (Colorado) area. Contact her on Google+, Twitter or Facebook.

One comment on “7 ways to take a bite out of dental costs

  1. Molly Arost Staub on said:

    Great ideas. However, since my late husband was a dentist, I can tell you something patients should be aware of. If you go out of the country for dental work (or other surgery), and an emergency situation arises when you’re back home, good luck in finding a practitioner to care for you. If you don’t regularly see a physician or dentist nearby, you usually have to go to an emergency room. For dental problems, that usually leads to two choices: being prescribed an antibiotic or pulling the tooth.