Approximately 9 – 15 % of adults avoid going to the dentist, not just because of the fear or anxiety but also because dental procedures are quite expensive. So if you need to get any type of dental work done, you’d naturally want to know how much it is going to cost.
However, modern and high-quality treatment is available worldwide – the prices vary widely and depend on your geographical area, your dental provider and the complexity of your particular treatment. There are many ways to lower the cost of dental procedures and you can play it smart by researching and comparing prices. Here’s an average range which will help you get an idea of what to expect.
If your insurance coverage, covers dental procedures then some or all of the cost can be funded by the insurance company. Many dentists are also participating providers with particular insurance companies and if your dentist is one of them, you can expect him or her to charge you a lot less than they would charge someone else who is not a part of the insurance network.
Pay via cash
Those who are intending to pay for the dental procedures completely by cash should search around to find out what the lowest cost of the particular treatment can be. You also have the option to ask the dentist if they can give you a discount for paying up front. Some dentists also match the prices with the charges they take from the insured patients if you pay the complete amount in cash.
Compare Cost for specific dental procedures
As mentioned above, the prices for specific dental procedures vary and depend among dental providers and metro areas. However, the costs of some of the common procedures are as follows:
• Dental Fillings: Also known as restoration is a procedure to restore and reform the function of the tooth after it has been affected by cavities. The teeth can be filled with a variety of materials including gold, silver, porcelain and more commonly a tooth-colored plastic material known as composite resin filling. The process can cost anywhere around $100 – $300 per area. Often, one tooth has multiple areas that need to be filled so expect to pay for each one.
• Teeth bleaching: Teeth whitening or bleaching lightens the teeth and removes any discoloration or stains. They are considered among the most popular dental cosmetic treatments because they can greatly improve a person’s smile. The procedure usually costs around $300 and most insurance companies don’t pay for this treatment. Another method to whiten the teeth in just 2 hours is also performed by many dentists. The procedure known as Zoom system can be costly, but you will only have to go to the dentist for one sitting.
• Dental Crown or Cap: A tooth shaped cap is placed over the tooth and helps restore it to its normal shape and size while improving and strengthening the appearance of the tooth. The crown or caps can be made from ceramic, metal mixtures, and even solid gold. The prices vary depending on the material you prefer with a metal mixture crown normally being the cheapest. You can expect to pay for a crown anywhere around $700 – $1200.
• Dental Bridge: A set of caps that are fitted over one or more missing teeth. A typical bridge contains one or more artificial teeth and is held in place by two dental crowns. The bridges normally cost around $2000 to $3000, depending on the material used and the number of missing teeth.
• Tooth Extractions: Tooth which is severely damaged may need to be removed. Usually, this is performed to extract wisdom teeth or teeth that are loose or broken. The average cost of the treatment is around $100 – $200 per tooth.
• Surgical tooth extractions: The procedure is more complex than a simple tooth removal. It is usually performed when a tooth has been broken off at gum line or has not erupted fully in the mouth such as an impacted wisdom tooth. The dentist makes a small incision in the gum and surgically removes the broken tooth or the wisdom tooth. The average cost of the procedure can be anywhere around $200 – $400 per tooth.
How to lower the cost of your dental procedures?
Dental work is expensive especially if you need to get major work done. It can also wreak havoc on your budget if you are not insured. There are many ways you can save up on dental procedures. Here’s how:
• Look for local clinics that offer free services. These clinics perform dental procedures on those individuals who have low income or no insurance and work on voluntary basis.
• Try a dental school: The dental schools allow their students to perform procedures at a low cost which helps them gain real world experience. Of course, these students are supervised by licensed and experienced dentists and can help you save a lot of money.
• Take part in clinical trials: Clinical trials are performed when a new form of a treatment is being tested. You can volunteer for such programs and avail a free dental treatment. However, make sure to fully investigate the trial for any potential risk to your health.
• Find about state funded insurance programs: In the United States, 3 pre-funded insurance programs are designed to provide insurance to a certain group of people. For example, Medicare is offered to those above 65 while Medicaid can be availed by families and individuals. A CHIP program is designed for the students under the age of 19.
• Contact State and local health departments: Ask your local and state health departments for affordable or free dental programs in your geographical area.
• Try insurance: Try to enroll yourself in an insurance plan which can help reduce the cost of your dentist bill. There are many types of insurance plans which include high monthly payment ones that charge less when you get dental work done or those with low monthly payments which charge high if you get any dental procedure.
• Of course, the best thing to do is don’t wait for a tooth emergency. Always keep a plan in mind that you can use in case dental emergency arises.
This guide is solely for information purpose and it is recommended to ask the exact cost of each dental procedure upfront whether you are insured or not. This will help minimize the risk of any unpleasant surprises and allow you to plan your budget accordingly.