Let’s face it – there aren’t many people who genuinely consider visits to the dentist to be an absolute pleasure. One or two out of every thousand perhaps, but comparatively few. Not only is there always the rather unpleasant prospect of painful procedures, but regardless of whether you have anything done or not, you still walk away with a serious dent in your wallet/purse. Indeed, even the costs of occasional check-ups with no surgery involved can soon add up to the kind of financial headache that leads to many avoiding the prospect of going to the dentist entirely.
Which is, of course, counterproductive, though in the immediate moment certainly appears to be more cost-effective.
All of which leads to one important and common question – is it really possible to save money at the dentist? Realistically, are there any ways and means by which a person or family can still enjoy the best possible oral health, without having to spend a penny more than necessary?
In a word…yes, and as is the case with most things it comes down to being proactive, savvy and thoughtful. And for those who think that the best way of saving money at the dentist is to visit the dentist as infrequently as possible, this often turns out to be a recipe for disaster. Expensive disaster, at that!
As already touched upon, one of the best ways of saving money at the dentist is to make sure that you go to the dentist on a regular basis. Counterproductive it may seem, but by going to the dentist and receiving advice and support on a regular basis, you stand a much greater chance of avoiding more advanced, complicated and expensive problems, further down the line. The simple fact of the matter is that your dentist may be able to implement a tiny tweak this time around for say £20, which if left unaddressed could end up costing you £200 to correct in a couple of years. It’s the classic tale of a ‘stitch in time saving nine’ which applies to both your health and the health of your wallet at the same time.
Of course, the very best way of avoiding expensive dental treatment bills is to avoid expensive dental treatment in the first place. Contrary to popular belief, the overwhelming majority of oral health problems that require surgical intervention are entirely preventable. From tooth decay to gum disease to ulcers and infections, keeping your mouth in immaculate condition at all times really can help keep these and most other common conditions/problems at bay. This means arming yourself with a high-quality electric toothbrush, the very best electric water flosser out there and keeping an eye on what you eat and drink on a daily basis. And of course, it’s worth noting that a healthy body in general also contributes to better oral health…and in turn, lower medical bills.
Just because you’ve been going to the same dentist for the past two decades does not necessarily mean that this particular dentist offers the best value for money. In fact, it could be entirely the opposite. In some instances, switching from one dentist to another (particularly when surgery is needed) can mean gaining access to the kinds of low prices dentists are often willing to offer to bring in new business. Not only this, but some dentists are just cheaper than others anyway. If you feel you’re being overcharged or would simply like to know if there’s a better deal available elsewhere, it costs nothing to shop around and see what others are charging.
Many university dental schools across the United Kingdom also operate their own surgeries, where trainee dentists learn the ropes and begin carrying out everyday procedures for the first time. All of which may sound somewhat daunting, but it’s worth bearing in mind that absolutely everything is done under the supervision of and in the presence of an elite dental professional of the highest calibre. Which technically means exponentially lower prices than you would pay at a normal dentist’s office.
If you qualify for free healthcare, you technically also qualify for free dental healthcare. Of course, the downside in the case of the NHS is that waiting lists have a tendency to be considerably longer and levels of expertise vary significantly. On the plus side, such appointments are 100% free of charge and available to anyone. You might also be rushed to the front of the queue, if your case is considered urgent enough.
Last but not least, while it remains something of a controversial subject in the eyes of some, dental tourism is nonetheless becoming a bigger deal all the time. To such an extent that there are even plenty of professional dentists who support the idea of travelling abroad for dental work, should it be prohibitively expensive here in the United Kingdom. Whereas an implant in the UK may cost £1,000 or more, there are various places worldwide where the same procedure can be carried out for say £200. And it’s wrong to immediately assume that dental healthcare standards abroad cannot be just as high as they are right here. That said, there will always be certain risks and disadvantages attached to dental tourism, which must be carefully considered and taken into account before a final decision is made.