Modern Dentistry by Daniel C. Croner D.D.S.
Modern Dentistry by Daniel C. Croner D.D.S.

How can I afford dental treatment?

Let's face it, quality health care, including dental care, can place a major stress on a family budget. What you need to know is that most dental conditions such as repair of decayed or broken teeth, gum disease and even impacted wisdom teeth usually can be addressed several different ways without compromising your general dental well being, both short term and long term.

As an example, you may have a broken tooth that may be repaired either by placing a crown or bonded plastic filling. Both options have their short and long term advantages, but the plastic filling typically costs 1/3 the cost of a crown or less. Also depending on your short term versus long term dental needs a more conservative, less invasive, less costly treatment may be more appropriate.

Remember when you seek treatment from a dentist, the dentist should be working for you. His job is to do a thorough diagnosis of your dental concern, explain to you what led to the condition, how to prevent a reoccurrence of the problem and offer you treatment options. Depending on your desired treatment outcome and short and long term needs, the dentist can then make a recommendation to meet those needs. You should never feel pressured to accept a more expensive treatment option if you are not comfortable with it. When the dentist is working for you, he will not object to you getting a second opinion from another dentist. It is your mouth and health. Get a good diagnosis of your dental condition and have your options explained to you . If you don't have dental insurance and must pay the entire bill yourself, you want to get the “most bang for your buck”. If you have dental insurance you also want to get the “most bang for your buck”, but it can be a lot trickier to do.

Determining dental insurance value becomes very difficult due to the many factors that figure into your bottom line. These include the cost of your premium, waiting periods, deductibles, categories of different treatments and percentages of fees covered, non-covered treatments, unknown fee limits on treatments, yearly maximum allowable coverage and in and out-of-networks. The unknown fee limits on treatments can be especially tricky as applied to dentist's in-network and out-of-network. The location of the dental office can play a major role in the calculation. You could receive dental care from an in-network doctor in one zip code and pay more out of pocket for treatment than you would from an out-of-network dentist in a different zip code. Two big reasons for this are, one, the dental fees in one zip code may be higher due to the economic affluence of the community, and two, in-network dentists have signed a contract and works for the insurance company and works for them, while an out-of-network dentist has no contract with the insurance company and should be working for you.

Also, is the insurance company paying for all services your policy allows? Insurance companies frequently fail to pay for all the services you are entitled to. It is very important that the dental practice you choose is knowledgeable about your specific benefits and that they closely examine and understand the Explanation of Benefits, (EOB), that the insurance company supplies with their payment.

Finally, what type of payment plans are available from the dental practice? Do they offer payment plans and discounts? As an example, our office offers a 5% discount option and 0% financing for 30 days.

How do you find out your best options and value? You will need to make some phone calls and get some direct and honest answers. Give us a call and we'll tell you how to get started. Remember you are paying the premiums and are entitled to answers. When in doubt, or just a matter of smart practice, get a second opinion. We'll do one for free.

Whether you have dental insurance or not, are in network or out-of-network, before you start paying on any treatment get a good explanation of your dental condition and a good explanation of your options.