Everyone likes to save money at the dentist. Dental bills can be expensive. At South Valley Pediatric Dentistry, we try to make phenomenal dental care available for every kid, regardless of income or insurance. That’s why we contract with more major insurance plans than anyone else, including Utah Medicaid. But with or without insurance coverage, parents can save some cash by following these simple steps.
Save Money at the Dentist by Preventing Procedures
Dental restorations like fillings and crowns cost much more than preventive care, with or without insurance coverage.
- Basic at Home Prevention – We’ve all heard it so many times, but in reality brushing and flossing regularly really does make a difference. Help your child brush twice a day until they’re around age 6 because younger children generally don’t have the hand-eye coordination to thoroughly reach every area in the mouth. Also, be sure to floss any teeth that touch at least once per day. In addition to brushing and flossing, lesser-known home prevention tips include keeping kids hydrated, avoiding sticky sweets, and sending babies to bed with only water once baby teeth erupt.
- Be Sure to Choose Flouride – Fluoride has been shown to reduce cavities, especially in children. Many Utah towns don’t fluoridate the municipal water supply, so many kids need a fluoride supplement to meet their fluoride needs. In addition, kids need their professional fluoride applications at each six-month checkup. Some insurance plans only cover fluoride once a year, which means parents then have to choose between skipping fluoride every other visit or paying out of pocket. However, The minimal fee for fluoride treatment helps families avoid the expense of costly restorative care for their kids, which means they save money at the dentist in the long run.
- Select Sealants – At South Valley Pediatric Dentistry, we recommend sealants on permanent molars to prevent cavities on the chewing surfaces of teeth. This procedure costs less than fillings and can prevent cavities. For the full story on sealants, check out this in-depth explanation of dental sealants from a previous blog post.
Don’t Delay Dental Care
Cavities come from bacteria in the mouth infecting and eating through dental structures. The longer cavities are allowed to spread, the more involved and expensive the treatment becomes.
- Catch Problems Early– When children see the dentist every six months, they are less likely to need extensive, costly restorations. Regular check-ups prevent cavities from growing too large before they can be fixed, which will make them less costly to treat.
- Complete Treatment Quickly – Schedule necessary treatment as soon as possible. Putting off fillings or crowns will only make the problem worse. A decaying tooth can only be fixed with professional dental care. Occasionally, dentists may opt to “watch” a tooth with a small cavity in order to give the tooth time to come in all the way, allow a baby tooth to fall out if it will do so soon, or allow a young child to get old enough to sedate for treatment. Those cases are exceptions, though, and we almost always recommend immediate treatment to keep expenses low.
- Address Pain Promptly – Pain can signal an infection or other dental complications. If a child has pain in between checkups, scheduling an urgent visit could keep dental issues from escalating into a bigger problem.
Make the Most of Dental Deals
Our financial policies offer out-of-pocket discounts for self-pay patients.
- Save on Premiums for Poor Insurance Plans – Some dental insurance plans don’t actually provide enough benefits to offset their cost. These exploitative dental plans may not cover preventive procedures in full, have prohibitively high deductibles (dental deductibles are generally around $25-100 per patient), and/or costly premiums and copays. If a dental plan doesn’t offer sufficient benefits, many patients save money at the dentist by putting aside the cost of a monthly premium to pay for semi-annual cleanings in cash. That way, they get our out-of-pocket discount and don’t have to pay hidden fees from their insurance.
- Cleaning and Exam Specials – Depending on the services offered, a six-month cleaning and checkup can cost upwards of $300, but we cut them down to a flat rate of $99 for new patients and $89 for returning patients.
- Bring Your Baby – Infants and toddlers ages 2 and under get a free cleaning and exam called a “Happy Visit.” These are gentle, low-key visits meant to give little ones positive associations about the dentist.
- Pay in Full for 20% off Treatment. – For out-of-pocket payers, fillings, crowns, oral sedation, baby root canals (pulpotomy), and so on are all qualified for our 20% off discount if you pay in full on the day of your visit.