Suffering with horrible tooth pain because there isn't enough money in the budget for a costly dental appointment is a harsh reality for many people. Preventative care often reduces the need for advanced procedures, but even routine exams and cleanings are often cost prohibitive without affordable dental insurance. Fortunately, dental insurance is often less expensive and easier to get than most people realize.
There are two types of coverage. Plans can either be obtained individually or through an employer.
Employer Group Policies
If you are entitled to health insurance benefits, sign up for the dental plan. It is typically available separate from major medical insurance and at a lower cost. Many companies even offer dental insurance to part-time employees. Eligibility varies depending on each employer. Some offer benefits immediately, while others have a waiting period of up to a year (and others don't offer it at all).
Individual policies are generally more expensive than what employers offer because you're paying the full cost. However, they are often well worth it. There is often no co-pay or deductible on cleanings and routine exams. If you need a major procedure, such as a root canal, the savings will be worth it, despite the monthly premiums.
There are several ways to find an individual plan. Get an online quote. Many websites allow you to compare policies offered by several providers at once. If finding a policy on your own seems overwhelming, contact an insurance agent to do the search for you. Dentist offices are another great resource for finding insurance options.
Sometimes affordable dental insurance just isn't available, especially if your employer doesn't offer it as a benefit. Discount plans, dental colleges, community clinics or government medical assistance programs are all options to look into.
Seeing the dentist regularly usually saves money. Preventative care keeps teeth healthy and allows dentists to find problems while they are still small (and much less expensive to correct). This is much easier accomplished with insurance.