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Paying for your dental treatment

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Going to see the dentist may be a chore for many, but it’s also a fact of life. From routine appointments to emergencies, dental treatment – and its associated costs – are part of our lives whether we like it or not.

We know that good dental hygiene, such as brushing twice a day, and routine visits to the dentist help to maintain a healthy smile. But for many people cost alone deters them from going to the dentist. (Source). Yet visiting the dentist regularly can actually be the best way to keep the costs of dental treatment down in the long run.

The UK spends £5.8 billion a year on treatments at the dentist. However, around 40% of adults in England don’t visit the dentist regularly (Source). These routine appointments are your best chance to spot issues such as gum disease, tooth decay, and even oral cancer, at an early stage, allowing your dentist to diagnose, advise, and take appropriate action. This could not only save your teeth, but save you a fortune on expensive dental treatments.

With no guarantees when it comes to dental health, there are a number of options on the market, which allow people to spread the cost of treatment, reimburse them or even pay towards the cost of more expensive treatments.

Capitation plans

Many people may be tempted to avoid the dentist, and only visit for emergencies. The alternative is to attend routine appointments, and budget appropriately. One way of doing this is through a capitation plan. These are set by your dentist, after the dentist makes an assessment of estimated annual costs based on the condition of your teeth. However, financial experts like Martin Lewis have suggested that, in some cases, these can charge at a higher rate than required (Source).

Buying dental insurance

Another way to budget for routine dental cost and out of pocket expenses is by taking out a dental insurance plan. These are provided by companies such as Dencover, and typically offer immediate cover for routine check-ups and hygienist appointments up to the annual policy limit, along with cover for more advanced treatment after a qualifying period. Levels of cover can vary, depending on the plan, so it’s good to research the product before making a decision.

Self-insuring

Budgeting appropriately by putting money aside can help cover dental expenses. But while this may be suitable if you have good teeth, and regularly allocate money for your routine check-ups, it may not prepare you fully for emergencies such as accidents, and other unforeseen dental emergencies. The costs of advanced treatments at a private dentist can go as far as hundreds and even thousands of pounds, and individuals may struggle to meet these out of pocket expenses on a one-off basis.

What to do

How you choose to fund your dental care depends entirely on your financial circumstances, and the condition of your teeth. It’s a decision best made after thorough research, and armed with all the facts at your disposal. From consulting your dentist, to looking at dental insurance online, gather as much information as possible before making your mind up.

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