A large and growing number of Americans are having difficulty affording dental care due to rising healthcare costs. A recent article by Becker’s Hospital Review found that 34 percent of patients delay or skip out on payments for dental expenses. At TLC Dental Center, our staff empathizes with the challenges of paying for certain dental procedures. We encourage all of our patients to share their financial concerns with a member of our trusted staff. Remember, many patients share those same worries.
Dr. Julie Kardon or one of our staff members will gladly explain what payment options may be possible or if alternative treatments are available. We strive to ensure that financial barriers do not keep you from seeking dental care at our Cherry Hill, NJ dental clinic.
A Look at Rising Dental Care Costs
The Becker’s Hospital Review article noted a recent survey by DentalPlans.com. The poll of 2,000 Americans found that the average cost of emergency medical care in the United States is $12,126, before insurance or deductions. Of that amount, the typical patient pays nearly half of that amount out of pocket. The poll found that it takes an average of 2.4 years to pay off those medical or dental expenses. Nearly a third of poll respondents try to avoid payments altogether. Many others turn to online crowdsourcing platforms to raise money.
Of the top medical concerns, dental problems ranked highly.
- Dentures/veneers: 27 percent
- Lost tooth: 20 percent
- Root canal: 19 percent
- Cavity: 13 percent
- Chipped tooth: 12 percent
The average annual cost of dental care is $598 for adults ages 35-49, according to the American Dental Association.
Cost Savings Tips
While there’s no single solution to guaranteeing that dental care costs will always remain within your budget, these tips offer a good way to begin managing the cost of your dental bills.
- Practice prevention: Brushing twice a day and flossing are two of the most effective preventative treatments for cavities. Fluoride is also proven to prevent and to even treat cavities in its early stages. If you suffer from bruxism, wear a mouth guard at night. Even an over-the-counter mouthguard can prevent costly wear on your teeth.
- Explore the benefits of dental insurance: Dental insurance plans cost an average of $15 to $50 dollars per month. Most dental plans completely cover the cost of routine cleanings and exams. The plans also cover a percentage of certain procedures. Even if you do end up paying for a treatment out-of-pocket, the cost will often be less after your dentist bills through your insurance plan. Some dental clinics offer a dental savings plan, which works similarly to dental insurance but must be used at one dental clinic.
- Schedule regular cleanings: Cleanings are quick and affordable. Cleanings are also a great way to stay ahead of gum disease.
- Be aware of your risk factors: Diet, smoking, drinking, and other habits can damage your teeth. During your dental exam, one of our doctors can explain ways to reduce your risk of costly restorative treatments.
- Explore alternative dental clinics: If you do require urgent dental care and cannot afford treatment, many state health departments, dental schools, or taxpayer-funded community health clinics offer services for significantly reduced or rates or even for free. A clinic charge based on a sliding scale, for example, based on your income. One excellent online resource is the nonprofit website Toothwisdom.org.
Don’t Let Costs Keep You From Dental Care
If you have concerns about the affordability of dental care treatments, let one of our caring staff members know. We hear these concerns often, and we are glad to explore various ways of working with your financial situation while providing the dental care you need. To schedule your next meeting, contact our office online or call (856) 667-1001.