When people think about cutting costs, one of the first things that might go is dental insurance. I should be honest, I do not have dental insurance even though my employer provides it ($41.36/month for an individual and $120.21/month for a family is the current rate from my employer). It did not make sense for me to take their dental insurance when it would be cheaper for me to pay out of pocket for my dental services. I am comfortable enough to budget out what I think my two cleanings and annual xrays will cost me for the year and include it into my budget instead of paying for insurance through my paycheck. 2 cleanings are $186 plus $75 for xrays is $261/year for me assuming I do not need additional care. Given your situation and the condition of your mouth, it might be a better option for you to take the dental insurance that your employer is providing or find insurance on your own.
For me, I have been to the same dentist since my first cleaning as a toddler and have religiously gone every six months for my entire life. That does not mean that I have not had my fair share of cavities, teeth pulled, retainers made, etc. but it just means that I have put myself on a schedule to ensure that my teeth are in good condition. A few weeks ago, I received my reminder appointment postcard in the mail that I had an upcoming appointment. Surprise surprise, I booked it smack in the middle of my busiest time of the year and would have to leave a little “early” (6:45pm to be exact) to make my appointment. One of my coworkers honestly asked me where I really was going. It started to make me wonder that people did not believe me that my dentist is open to 8pm on week nights. My dentist has his own independent practice in Watertown, MA and employs mostly local dental students to do the general office cleanings.
It started to occur to me that maybe people just choose not be to on the typical six month schedule because they do not really want to pay for it, they do not have a good dentist in the area or that their dentist just does not have convenient hours for their schedule. I asked a few of my coworkers where they were going to the dentist and got some mixed reviews. Most of them do not have a dentist in the area nor are even going to the dentist on a constant cycle. Yet the majority of them are actually paying for dental insurance – just in case. Seems silly to me that you would be paying for something and not even using it. If you have it – even for just in case purposes – why not find a dentist in the area and make an appointment for a routine checkup?
Whether or not you have dental insurance, one way that I would suggest to keep those costs down are to go to dental students. Boston is home to three well-known dental schools and their students have clinics all day long. If you wanted to keep your costs down, I would suggest checking out one of these schools to make an appointment:
Or find an independent dentist, like mine, who is looking for new clients. Be upfront when you call and ask if they are accepting new patients and ask about pricing. You are not trying to nickel and dime them, but you should be aware of the out-of-pocket costs versus the cost if you have dental insurance.
Do you have dental insurance? If not, why not?