The legendary king of late night TV Johnny Carson might have said it best years ago, “Happiness is your dentist telling you it won’t hurt and then having him catch his hand in the drill.”
Unfortunately, these days, the pain or thought of having a dentist drilling in our mouth with sharp instruments isn’t the only thing keeping us away from dental appointments.
While American Dental Association (ADA) surveys reveal that nearly one-quarter of all Americans avoid dentists because they’re afraid, more people have avoided routine visits and major dental care procedures due to pocketbook panic in recent years.
According to a HealthDay poll conducted by Harris Interactive in 2009, more than 50 percent of uninsured and 30 percent of insured Americans skipped necessary dental visits due to financial burdens. Planned or unplanned, routine cleanings and dental care procedures can be a major out-of-pocket expense, whether you have dental insurance or not.
If you’ve ever been unfortunate enough to have a root canal done, any pain and discomfort is usually short-term. But the dental care bill, sometimes upwards of $1,000, is probably going to set you back a lot longer.
For many Americans, dental care is a luxury as a recession-driven spike in unemployment levels, rising treatment costs and unaffordable insurance coverage caused four in 10 Americans to struggle to pay their medical bills last year, according to a recent report by the Commonwealth Fund.
A few money saving dental care solutions some people have been willing to open their mouth and try recently include: visiting local colleges for dental care at a fraction of the cost; taking a dental vacation to Costa Rica and other destinations; or negotiating with dentists to pay upfront for premium prices.
Another solution that has caught on with economical dental patients in recent years, as noted in the New York Times, AARP Bulletin and U.S. News & World Report, are discount dental plans.
Search Online, Open Wide and Save
An affordable alternative to dental insurance, discount dental plans offer savings with dentists across the country who offer their services at a discount to help patients save and keep them coming back.
For example, a plan such as the Careington Care 500 Series can save a family as much as 20 to 60 percent on routine oral exams, root canals, crowns and features unlimited cleanings. Another plan for a family looking to cover their bases and keep up with preventive care, the Solstice Plus Plan One covers two free exams and cleanings annually, as well 10 to 50 percent off on basic and restorative services.
Plans do not have annual limits, activate within three business days and can be used as often as needed. Some discount dental plans can even be coupled with insurance to reduce out-of-pocket costs once the typical dental insurance cap of $1,000 is reached.
A one-stop online shop with more than 30 discount dental plans for patients to tailor to their needs for the year, such as DentalPlans.com, helps individuals and families compare plans from Aetna, CIGNA, Careington and more. Visitors can compare plans by ZIP code, view sample savings by procedure and find a nearby dentist.
Just like searching for discounts on groceries and household goods, you can find the same money saving resources on dental care to help alleviate some of the financial fear and maintain your oral health, which recent studies have indicated relate to overall health and well-being.
This article was written by DentalPlans.com, a one-stop online shop that connects individuals, families and groups to significant savings on dental care procedures such as cleanings, braces and root canals.