Dental care isn’t cheap, but sticker shock should not keep you out of the dentist’s chair. Caring for your teeth is a vital facet of good health – from preventative care such as brushing and flossing, regular check-ups and cleanings to taking action if there is a more serious issue. Fortunately, there are many different ways to pay for dental care – with or without insurance.
We accept all major dental insurance at our Norman office. Not all dentists do, so make sure wherever you get your care, your insurance is accepted. It is also important to understand what all is covered by your specific insurance plan. While most basic dental care is covered by dental insurance, some procedures are not covered. We are happy to help you sort through this, but a simple call to the insurance carrier prior to your visit will arm you with the answers you will need.
Moreover, about 74 million Americans have no dental coverage, according to the National Association of Dental Plans. And for those folks, a comprehensive treatment plan can add up quickly. However, there are alternative ways to pay for your dental care.
CareCredit for dental procedures, dental credit cards and loans
Some patients that are planning procedures such as tooth repair, implants, crowns or caps, root canals, braces, retainers or dentures may consider using a line of credit to pay for their care.
One of the most well-known medical credit cards is CareCredit. With the CareCredit healthcare credit card you can benefit from special dental financing. With shorter term financing options of 6, 12, 18 or 24 months, no interest is charged on purchases of $200 or more when you make the minimum monthly payments and pay the full amount due by the end of the promotional period. If you do not, interest is charged from the original purchase date.
You may use it to pay for out-of-pocket expenses not covered by medical insurance, or procedures not covered by insurance such as cosmetic procedures. They also offer special financing options that you may not be able to get with other credit cards. Once you’ve applied, you can use it again and again at other providers or for other qualifying medical procedures.
Some banks and credit unions also offer small loans for medical expenses. There are also some lenders specializing in lending for medical expenses. However, carefully review and consider their conditions – and always use credit responsibly.
In-office membership plans
More and more dental practices in Norman and elsewhere offer membership clubs that allows patients to be in total control of their dental care. With these plans, routine dental care of uninsured patients is covered by the membership plan. It makes this basic care very affordable as the plan can be paid in easy monthly payments. These in-office membership plans are transparent and leave patients with black-and-white information regarding coverage. We also offer this option. Our membership club allows patients to pay a small monthly or annual fee directly to our practice to cover preventive care. It also qualifies them for a great loyalty discount on most other services.
Read Join the Club: Save on your Dental Care to learn more about Tecumseh Ridge Dental’s plan. Or enroll directly at https://www.kleer.com, and use doctor code ED4G.
Using FSA or HSA for dental care
Employees enrolled in flexible spending account (FSA), health savings account (HSA) or similar programs contribute tax-free dollars into an account that can be used throughout the year on qualified medical, dental and vision — reducing out-of-pocket costs.
Dental care reimbursement is eligible with a flexible spending account, health savings account, health reimbursement arrangement and limited care flexible spending account (LCFSA). Dental care reimbursement is not eligible with a dependent care flexible spending accounts (DCFSA).
Dental expenses reimbursed by consumer-directed healthcare accounts include a majority of routine treatments conducted at the dentist office including X-rays, tooth extractions, fillings, dentures, crowns, implants and fluoride treatments. In addition to these treatments, dental products eligible for reimbursement include dentures, denture adhesives/cleaning supplies/sealants, dental night guards and orthodontic wax. Generally, dental treatments like whitening and other cosmetic procedures are not eligible as they do not assist in the treatment, prevention or diagnosis of a legitimate medical condition. Account holders should consult their benefits administrators before submitting claims for dental products or treatments to ensure that they will receive reimbursement for their dental care. However, the FSA/HSA route offers many benefits including that it lets you take home a larger paycheck by reducing your taxable income.
Paying the dentist directly
Always be upfront with your dentist about your financial situation. From paying the dentist directly and potentially receiving out-of-pocket discounts to tackling your treatment plan in phases to make paying for it easier, there is always a solution. For instance, at our office we offer a 5 percent discount for those who pay in full on the day of service with cash or check if you don’t have a dental insurance or a benefit plan. Patients over 65 without dental insurance or a benefit plan are eligible to receive an additional 5 percent off for prepayment or full payment by cash or check on the day of treatment at our practice.
Your smile is priceless
Investing into your dental care is an investment in yourself and your health. Preventative care may keep you from spending money on more serious dental issues later. A healthy mouth also protects your overall health. And those are just the direct “savings.”
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that more than 164 million work hours are lost each year due to dental problems alone. Even if employees aren’t actually missing work, experiencing dental pain can impact their satisfaction and productivity when they’re actually at work. About 30 percent of small business employees said that their productivity at work has suffered because they had to delay medical or dental care due to the cost, according to MetLife’s 14th Annual Employee Benefit Trends Study. That’s a lot of productivity lost to our economy due to aching teeth.
That said, the confidence a healthy, beautiful smile can give you is priceless.