Dental care is expensive, and if you don't have dental insurance to help defray the costs of treatment, then it may take all of the funds in your budget that you have allotted for dental care just to keep up with your family's routine checkups and cleanings. This can leave you wondering how to pay for treatment if one of you experiences a dental emergency. The amount of people who visit the emergency room for emergency dental care is on the rise, doubling from 1.1 million to 2.2 million patients per year between 2000 and 2012, but the ER remains an inefficient way to get comprehensive dental treatment. Here are a few better options that will help you handle dental emergencies affordably.
Try a Dental School
Dental schools often provide a variety of dental procedures and treatments at a greatly reduced cost. The purpose of this is two-fold. It gives the student dentists needed practice on live patients before graduation, and it allows the dental schools to help give back to the community they're located in.
Getting treatment at a dental school is very safe. The student dentists are closely supervised by their professors, and by the time they're allowed to work on live patients, they're very close to graduation. You'll get high-quality work done at a fraction of the price.
Join a Discount Program
Many people are turning to dental discount programs as an alternative to dental insurance. Joining a discount program now can turn out to be a lifesaver when an emergency arises later. With a discount program, you pay a membership fee – usually yearly – that gives you access to a variety of deep discounts on common dental procedures.
A discount program can help in two ways. It can save you money on routine dental procedures, like X-rays and cleanings, that you would normally pay full price for. This allows you to put money aside for dental emergencies, so that you aren't caught unprepared when you get a bad toothache or your child gets their tooth knocked out by a baseball. Also, the dental discounts can lessen the price of even emergency procedures like extractions or root canals.
Ask for Financing
In a real pinch, you can apply for a loan to cover the cost of emergency dental treatments. There are financing companies that specialize in providing loans for dental treatments, medical treatments, and prescriptions. They understand the urgency of these matters and usually can provide instant decisions on your loan.
Some dentists even offer their own financing options, rather than going through an outside loan company (often at lower interest rates.) While taking on extra debt may not be ideal, financing allows you to get the treatment you need immediately, while breaking the cost of the procedure into low monthly payments you can afford.
If you're not sure where to turn to get the dental work you need, don't be afraid to call your dentist and ask for advice and options before going the emergency room route. Never assume that you just won't be able to get the dental care you need. Most dentists are used to patients who do not have insurance, and they are truly your best resource when it comes to discovering treatment and payment options in your own area.
To learn more, visit a website like http://www.nwidentist.com/.