Your smile is your real-life profile picture. It’s also your path to food nirvana. It makes sense that you want to do everything you can to protect it. But some dental insurance plans cost you more than they save.
As a single person, you want to look your best. Keeping up appearances is essential to establishing a career, finding a partner, and showing off your social status. People are drawn to attractive people. This is especially true for individuals with a fantastic smile.
Maintaining your oral health as a young, single person is crucial to the overall success of your life. This may be why you probably have dental insurance, or you are seriously considering this type of coverage.
But, believe it or not, there are some instances when dental insurance is not beneficial to you, the policyholder.
While dental insurance is important, it might not be necessary. Let’s discover why you probably don’t need dental insurance and how you can get by without it.
When Dental Insurance Costs More Than The Dentist
If you are in a situation where you are paying more for your dental coverage than the cost of procedures; then you should probably get rid of it. Most people only visit the dentist twice a year.
They normally go for checkups and routine cleanings. The other ten months of the year they don’t interact with a dentist at all. Since this is the case, many people are losing money on their dental coverage.
Your policy might allow you to receive some free services. But most policyholders don’t even use these services. And since they don’t, most people are losing money on coverage.
Not only are the free services not used, but many people also do not use any of the procedural services either. This is because most people do not need dental procedures other than routine cleanings, cavity fillings, and whitening services.
Therefore, if you are the type of person that regularly needs dental work, such as bridges, braces, implants, and other non-routine procedures, then you can do a cost analysis to determine if your insurance is providing more than what you are paying in premiums.
But if you can maintain a healthy smile without the dentist . . .
. . . then you might not need your insurance after all.
Dental Schools: Free Dentist Alternatives
Even the best-kept smile may need some serious work done, most often resulting from sports or athletic activities.
Did you know you could save thousands off of high-cost dental procedures by simply going to a dental school for services? That’s right. Dental schools have students who are studying to become a dentist.
These individuals often need real-life scenarios to develop their skills. That’s where you come in. As a dental patient for an internship or a residency, you will receive high-quality oral care at a fraction of the cost.
The only drawback to this type of service is some students may not be as good as dentists with years of experience may. Still, you have the benefit of having a qualified dental professor on hand.
The dental professor will monitor their students to ensure that they are not making any critical errors. If something is wrong or something is not to your liking, they will usually redo a procedure within reason.
This is a great way to maintain oral health without insurance.
Long-term Oral Health Without a Dentist
Strange as this might sound, some individuals haven’t been to the dentist for decades and are still able to maintain their smile. They make it a point to provide themselves with outstanding oral care.
Taking care of your teeth on your own is not recommended by dentists but some people show it’s possible—if you take it seriously.
You can start your self-oral care by following recommended oral health practices:
- Don’t smoke
- Floss twice a day and after each meal
- Brush twice a day and after each meal
- Avoid foods with a dark blue or purple hue
- Limit soda, coffee, and other dark beverages
Purchase a consumer type dental instrument that can scrape plaque and tartar away from your teeth to weekly. Also, consider obtaining a Waterpik to remove food particles left behind by brushing and flossing.
Use a powerful antiseptic mouthwash or rinse to eliminate germs and bacteria. The antiseptic you select should be powerful enough to leave your mouth feeling numb, but it should not erode your gums or tooth enamel during the process.
To get a jump-start on whiter teeth, you can use a self-whitening kit or even peroxide (which can also play a role in self-care).
If you can regularly perform these different methods of tooth care, you will be able to keep your oral health for a long time into the future.
If you do not want to put forth this kind of effort for your teeth, then pay for insurance. But these types of preventative measures show real results.
Other Methods to Maintain Oral Health
Free or Low-cost Dental Clinics
In addition to dental schools, most cities also have free or low-cost dental clinics. These clinics are usually non-profits where professional dentists volunteer. You don’t need insurance or a lot of money to use most charitable dental clinics.
Discounts For Cash Payments
Like many other services or product, consider paying cash and asking for a discount. Often cash payments forgo expensive credit card transaction fees.
Paying cash also provides your dentist with instant payment so he will not have to wait for the release of funds from a credit provider. Together, there may be an incentive to give you a cash discount.
Another option, especially for very high-cost procedures, is getting set up on a payment plan. Many dental clinics offer this type of payment option, and they will be willing to work with you in most cases.
You should also consider discount dental plans as they too can make a difference with savings without a hefty insurance premium.
The bottom line is you probably don’t need dental insurance. Remember, the best way for good oral health is proper daily care.
Good oral hygiene is good for your smile—and your wallet!
Andy’s passion for making unconventional financial education accessible to everyone is the driving force behind WealthFit.