Even after a painless trip to your dentist, the bill you receive can be irritating. Procedures at a general dentist's office can cost you, and without comprehensive insurance, paying for them can be especially painful. But it's important to get both preventative and emergency dental care when you need it, so what's a patient to do?
Discount dental work through dental schools includes many of the same services your dentists offers for a fraction of the cost. If the price of pearly whites is too much for you to bear, or stopping you from getting the care that you need, having this work done through a dental school may be the happy medium between the care you need and the price you can pay. Here's how to ensure you're making the right choice.
Pros of Dental School
Choosing a dental school shouldn't be a task taken lightly. If you do your homework, however, you can realize some great benefits: Licensed dentists supervise the process, so dental students aren't flying blind when they work on their patients. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, these professionals watch carefully, providing necessary checks and correction to make sure the work is done perfectly. You can rest assured that just because a dental student is less experienced doesn't mean you'll compromise on care.
In addition, students practice to get it right. Discount dental care through colleges makes sense because each student-dentist is there to master these procedures. Because they need the practice and want to impress their teachers, they take their time to make sure the work is done as professionally as their career requires.
It's also great for preventative care. Although you may want to leave more in-depth procedures to an experienced dentist – root canals, for example – dental schools are an inexpensive approach to preventative care that includes X-rays, cleanings and even sealants.
Cons of Dental School
Dental schools can offer you most of the services you need at a much lower cost than a typical dentist, but it's not appropriate for every type of treatment. Because dental students are practicing, they may work more slowly than an experienced dentist in order to complete these procedures effectively. Your appointment may therefore take longer than usual, which isn't ideal if you're pressed for time.
And naturally, it's less personal. Chances are you've seen your dentist for years; he or she knows your history, prescribes you mouthwashes such as Colgate PreviDent® Dental Rinse and treats you accordingly. Dental schools don't have the luxury of repeat patients and cycle through students as they matriculate. You can expect to relay your health and dental history to new students each time you make a visit.
Insurance can be complicated, as well. In many casts, Medicaid and most dental insurance policies cover work done by accredited dental schools (you can check to make sure a school is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation). You might find, however, that you're responsible to pay for service upfront and then make a claim for reimbursement through your insurance carrier afterward. When in doubt, give your provider a call before you have any work done through an institution.
Having discount dental work done through a dental school makes financial sense if the idea of paying for typically pricey services is enough of an ache. As long as you clear the work through your insurance policy and choose an accredited school, you can save hundreds of dollars while still getting the care that you need.