Oral care is a big part of overall health and you can only brush it off for so long before you end up in a dental chair. What may induce more anxiety than the dreaded drill is the bill.
"A recent study shows that dental care costs are expected to rise 58 percent through 2018 in America," Tami Goodman, vice president of customer care at DentalPlans.com, said.
But Goodman says you can take a bite out of your dental costs. One way is to visit a dental school.
"The procedures are conducted by a dentist in training, usually under the supervision of a dental professional or supervisor," she said. "There can be a long waiting list, as well as longer times to complete the procedures."
A discussion with your dentist about payment options could mean extra savings.
"A lot of dentists offer discounts for people that pay up front with cash or checks," Goodman said. "They may offer discounts for patient referrals or have financing available in their office."
Another money-saving tip: some dentists team up with organizations like Dentistry From the Heart and participate in free dental clinics.
"There's often a wait. Get there early and make sure you check beforehand to see what services are being offered during that free clinic," Goodman said. "A lot of times, they are limited to cleanings and extractions."
You may also want to look into a dental plan to cut costs.
"These discount plans traditionally help the consumer save anywhere from 10 percent to 60 percent off of procedures," Goodman said. "In addition, a lot of the discount plans provide discounts on procedures that aren't traditionally covered by insurance like cosmetic dentistry and braces. These plans do vary by price and by region, so it's important to check all the terms and conditions."
And of course, prevention can also help to prevent those high dental costs.