Three Ways We've Saved on Dental Care

This boy. Over the weekend, he had a minor bike crash and knocked a tooth loose. I had to snap a picture before the tooth falls out because I'd be shocked if it re-implants.


It got me thinking about our dental expenses. Here's how we've handled our dental care over the past few years.

I'd like to think doing these things has saved us some money.

1. We self insure. Every time we run the math, it is cheaper for us to pay our for our dental bills, regular cleanings and check ups out of pocket. My husband is self employed, but even when I was employed by the hospital and they offered dental coverage deducted from my paycheck, it was not a good deal. I think it was about $100/month. At that rate, I could have had my teeth cleaned every month and paid out of pocket.

2. We skip the routine X-rays. I'm not a dentist, so heed this advice at your own risk: skip the X-rays. One day I came clean with my dentist and said, I just don't want to pay for them. He said that's totally fine!

If there is a reason or a problem, sure, X-ray my teeth. Otherwise, I'm good.

3. I only take my children for a cleaning and check up once a year instead of the standard two. They are young, they have lots of space in their mouths, they brush their teeth (almost) every day. In my non professional opinion, once a year is enough assuming there are no issues.

Again, I was honest with our pediatric dentist. I explained that it was our preference to only come once a year. He was supportive.

I wanted to float these ideas out there because over the years we have spent very little on dental care and maintained healthy teeth. These things have worked for us. But it took me a while to feel like I could just be honest and say, "Hey, we don't have dental insurance and we just don't want to pay for this/that unless it would be harmful."

We may pick up an insurance policy in a year or two since our kids are getting older and will likely need more dental work, but these little years we have managed fine by doing the things above.

And, no, I did not take Stephen to the dentist for his tooth. He's fine.


  1. We paid cash for years...it's only been in the last few that it's been a better deal to purchase dental insurance. I hear ya! Fingers crossed his tooth hangs in there-Little Bit had a pretty bad hit to her front teeth. Amazingly, against all bets, they hung in there.

  2. This is what my husband and I do, too, because we are self-insured!! The kids have state medical insurance which includes dental, so we allow them to do the routine stuff. Our dentist is wonderful and rather frugal, too, so she is very supportive of what we are doing. I haven't had a full set of some kind of x-rays since I was in high school - ha!

    I hope the medical field can learn to be more pragmatic about this and offer real practical advice. It's so easy to just buy everything because they are the experts. I've started being honest with my doctor about how much it costs me for one visit ($90, no co-pay) and seeing if there are things I can resolve over the phone or if it's worth an appointment. So far, they've been very understanding.

  3. Good advice, but my favorite is the precious picture of Stephen. He's getting so big! I don't think I can call him Stephen Small these days!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...