4 Ways to Save at the Dentist

What's Hot

The Most Sinful City in the U.S. Is … (Hint: It’s Not Vegas)Family

How a Mexican Tariff Will Boost the Cost of 6 Common PurchasesFamily

This Free Software Brings Old Laptops Back to LifeMore

How to Protect Yourself From the ‘Can You Hear Me?’ Phone ScamFamily

Report: Walmart to Begin Selling CarsCars

Where to Sell Your Stuff for Top DollarAround The House

Is Your TV Tracking You? Here’s How to Tell — and Prevent ItAround The House

11 Staging Tips to Help You Get Top Dollar When Selling Your HomeAround The House

21 Restaurants Offering Free Food Right NowSaving Money

20 Simple Hacks to Make Your Stuff Last LongerAround The House

4 Car Insurers That Might Raise Rates Even When the Accident Wasn’t Your FaultCars

How to Invest If Trump Kills the ‘Fiduciary Rule’Grow

12 Surprising Ways to Wreck Your Credit ScoreBorrow

8 Tuition-Free U.S. CollegesCollege

These Are the 25 Best Jobs in the U.S.Jobs & Work

9 Secret Ways to Use Toothpaste That Will Make You SmileAround The House

The 2 Types of Music That Most Improve Dog BehaviorFamily

The recession has hurt dentists' bottom line and our dental health. A recent survey shows 43 percent of us have delayed dental care due to the cost. Here's how to cut your dental costs whether you have insurance or not.

Few of us enjoy opening wide for the rubber-coated hands and cold tools of the dentist. You may have even dreaded an appointment enough to postpone it.

But it turns out that dread of dental bills rather than dental care is the biggest reason we delay dentist visits – whether we have insurance or not.

In a recent Consumer Reports survey, 43 percent of subscribers reported putting off dental care due to the cost, even though the publications’ subscribers tend to have better insurance than the average American.

“Consumers worry about pain when it comes to the dentist,” says Nancy Metcalf, a Consumer Reports editor, “but the financial burden of yet another medical expense is the greatest concern of all.”

Last month the L.A. Times reported that the recession has affected dentistry enough to force dentists to cut hours, pay, and staff.

“Dentistry, once thought recession-proof, has become a casualty of the tough economy,” the article reports. “Americans increasingly see dental care as a luxury, even though neglecting their teeth can lead to serious health hazards, including heart disease.”

If you’re among those of us who’ve postponed the dentist because of the price – or if you’d just like to pay less than you currently do – this is Consumer Reports’ advice. It applies to both the insured and the uninsured…

  • Shop around and bargain. Look up typical insurance-paid rates in your area at FairHealthConsumer.org and HealthCareBlueBook.com, then ask providers to accept that amount, or less, as a cash payment.
  • Consider free and low-cost clinics and health centers. Some community health centers offer dental care with fees based on the ability to pay. Consumers should call their local health department to find one nearby. But they should expect to encounter waiting lists in some locations.
  • Look into dental and dental-hygienist schools. Consumers who are willing to be treated by supervised students can avail themselves of schools that offer free or discounted care to the public. A list of schools is available here.
  • Investigate dental discount plans. For an annual membership fee of around $50 to $100, one can get access to a network of dentists who have agreed to discounted rates. But Consumer Reports recommends that consumers watch out for pricey add-ons and extra procedures they don’t need.

And don’t forget to brush and floss regularly. That may sound obvious, but a third of the people polled by Consumer Reports admitted that they don’t.

If it’s braces you’re putting off, check out 5 Tips to Save on Braces.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!


Read Next: 10 Best Places to Retire in 2017

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,871 more deals!