It is recommended that children begin regularly visiting the dentist by the time they are a year old or when their first tooth erupts, whichever comes first. Fortunately, dental insurance coverage for children is now considered an essential health benefit under the health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act, guaranteeing that every child is covered. While this is a huge step forward in the battle against oral disease, it is not enough. As you age, your teeth become more susceptible to decay, fracture, and sensitivity. And many preventable dental conditions worsen with lack of care, yet adult dental insurance is not required under the new law. Unfortunately, this has left millions of older Americans without coverage.
Obviously, skipping the dentist for the rest of your life is NOT an option. So, what do you do when you don’t have dental insurance, but need to see the dentist? Forbes magazine recently published a story addressing this very issue. Here are five of the tips they offered for getting good dental care at a reasonable rate.
- Search for a dental practice that has a payment plan. Several dentists across the county offer a payment arrangement that is similar to insurance. At Miami Dental Sedation Spa, they maximize any dental insurance coverage and accept several payment methods, including financing with 12 month no interest finance charge.
- Participate in a charity event. Members of the national nonprofit, the Dental Group Practice Association (DGPA), often organize free service days in communities around the nation. Similar events are held through others organizations, such as Dentistry from the Heart, America’s Dentists Care Foundation, and other state dental associations.
- Visit a dental school. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, dental schools offer quality, reduced cost dental treatment. While the treatments are performed by students, licensed dentists always supervise the work, meaning longer yet thorough visits.
- Beware of chain clinics. While retail dental outlets often boast free exams and cleaning, they are typically only offered to those with insurance. Because they are a large chain, they often can work with multiple insurance plans, where many smaller practices can only take patients who are covered by a few major carriers.
- Practice preventative methods on your own. By diligently following a dental hygiene routine (brushing twice a day for two minutes and flossing at least once a day), you can cut down on the number of visits you need, according to the article.
Until dental insurance is viewed as essential for all Americans, millions will continue to go without. Mounting evidence suggests a critical connection between oral health and general wellness, making it that much more important to maintain dental care throughout life.