Dental Blog

How to know what’s the Right Price for Dental Procedures

Monday, November 25, 2019

Finding a competitive price for your dental procedure can be difficult due to a lack of pricing transparency. We are here to help you find the right competitive price for your dental care along with financing options and preventative measures you can take.

Are you confused by the costs of dental procedures? When it comes to healthcare costs, it’s hard to be a smart consumer because there is a lack of price transparency by the providers. Especially since it’s important to know if the dental procedure you are quoted for is being quoted at a competitive price. Dental plans take the confusion out of dental care by making it easy to view pricing for common dental procedures. Here are other ways to know if you are getting the right price for a dental procedure and tips on keeping your dental costs low.

How to Budget for Dental Care

Don’t be tempted to put off dental care even when faced with an unplanned dental procedure. If you do, the cost for treatment could end up being much higher as the problem gets more severe without early intervention. Most dental insurances only cover preventative care in full, such as dental exams and cleanings, leaving you with out-of-pocket expenses for dental procedures such as crowns and root canals. Dental insurance plans also have an annual cap, so you might be in a situation where you are close to exceeding your cap.

The first step to budget for dental care is to keep your teeth and gums healthy. It’s never wise to avoid going to the dentist because you didn’t budget for the expense. When you don’t take preventative care of your teeth and gums, more serious oral (and general) health issues can erupt over time. Be sure you see your dentist twice a year for an exam and teeth cleaning. This is one of the best ways to avoid serious oral health issues. Even if you don’t have insurance, dental exams and cleanings are much less expensive then dental procedures.

A thing to note, children covered under Medicaid do get comprehensive dental benefits through the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). However, adults aren’t covered. Additionally, Medicare doesn’t cover routine dental care or most dental procedures.

Why Are There Different Prices for Dental Procedures?

There can be wide variations in prices for the same dental procedures from different providers. Individual dental practices set prices for their offices based on market prices and the costs of doing business. These costs include rent, salaries, insurance, supplies and more. Unfortunately, most dental practices don’t publish a list of prices to make it easy for you to compare. Here are some tips on how to verify that the price you were quoted is competitive and fair for the dental procedures you require:

  • Comparing prices from professional dental organizations – Dental insurance providers, as well as professional dental organizations such as the American Dental Association (ADA) and Dental Economics, periodically conduct pricing surveys to determine the average costs of dental procedures for different regions of the United States. Look at these surveys to verify that the quote you received is comparable with what other providers would charge. Also Delta Dental provides a cost estimator where you can search by zip code to receive the average cost range of a particular dental procedure in your area. By taking a few minutes to compare prices you will have a better on whether you were quoted a competitive price.
  • Comparing the same dental procedures – Some nuances can affect the price of dental procedures. For example, the charge for a dental filling adjusts based on how many surfaces are being treated and the filling material. Even if you are quoted a lower price, you must make sure that it reflects the exact same procedure. If you’re not doing an “apples-to-apples” comparison you can’t assume the lower price is best or accurate. Be sure to discuss your treatment recommendations with your provider. A resin composite (tooth-colored) filling is typically more expensive than an amalgam (silver) filling. However, there might be reasons your dentist recommended the resin composite for your treatment. We understand why the price is a consideration, but it should be balanced with the reasons why your dentist is recommending a treatment.
  • Get a second opinion – Getting a consultation with another provider to see what they recommend for treatment can also put you at ease. Keep in mind when you talk to another provider that the price you get quoted for is for the exact same materials and treatment you are comparing.

Affordable Dental Care

How you do control the costs of your dental care? While many of the variables that impact the pricing for dental services are out of your control, there are things you can do to keep your dental care affordable:

  • Good oral hygiene keeps costs low – Take good care of your teeth by brushing at least twice a day and flossing daily this diminishes the chances of you needing expensive dental treatment. Use fluoride toothpaste and floss to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Limit your intake of sugar. Eat teeth-healthy foods. When you indulge in sugary foods, wash it down with water.
  • Enroll in a dental plan – Dental plans are a great way to make your dental care more affordable. Most plans provide free exams and X-rays, plus significant discounts on other dental services when you pay a low annual fee. Dental plans typically publish their discounts which brings much-needed price transparency to your healthcare costs. Enrolling in a dental plan is easy. Everyone qualifies and members can take advantage of plan discounts immediately.
  • Visit the dentist at least twice a year – Don’t skip regular exams and cleaning to save money. That plan will backfire. Visiting your dentist regularly allows the dentist to catch any concerns before they become severe and require more invasive dental procedures to treat.
  • Discuss treatment options with your dentist – Many common dental issues can be treated in a variety of ways. For instance, tooth loss can be treated with removable dentures, bridges, and dental implants all of which have different costs and patient benefits. To make an informed decision on your treatment plan, make sure you know what options are available to treat your particular issue.
  • Ask about financing options – Most dental practices offer a variety of financing plans to help patients afford the care they need. It is often possible to access care with little or no down payment. Low-interest rates and flexible financing terms make paying for your dental services as easy as possible.
  • Inquire about special offers – Many dental offices extend a new patient offer or other promotions throughout the year. Ask your provider’s office staff to find out where you could find out about any special promotions happening and how you can be notified about them in the future.
  • Your provider selection – When choosing a dental provider, it’s a good idea to ask if they offer a dental plan and to inquire about pricing for specific services. Practices affiliated with larger dental organizations are often able to offer more affordable dental procedures compared to independent providers because they benefit from economies of scale when it comes to purchasing supplies. These groups are also more likely to have special offers or financing that can help keep prices affordable.

At Bright Now! Dental, we know that it’s hard to know if you are being charged a fair price for dental services. We are here to help! We can provide options so you are prepared if you face an unexpected dental procedure. One of the best things you can do is be proactive with your dental care, so be sure to schedule your next appointment today!