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.