Finding the Best Way to Pay for Dental Care

by Jared Bilodeau, MSFP, Associate Wealth Advisor

According to a recent Gallup poll, one-third of all Americans hadn’t visited a dentist in the past year.

Going to the dentist for a yearly checkup increases the chance of having healthy, strong teeth and gums. Equally important, poor dental health has been increasingly linked to a number of diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease. What many people don’t realize is that there are numerous options for paying dental costs besides paying out-of-pocket. To help you find the one that’s right for you, we’ve put together this list of 3 ways to pay for dental care.

  1. Dental Insurance. Some people are fortunate enough to have their dental care costs entirely covered by their employer. However, many people either don’t have this option or have dental insurance that only covers a portion of the cost. Dental insurance that is purchased outside of an employer is usually very expensive, and there are other options that are more affordable.
  2. FSA/HSA. Flexible savings accounts (FSAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs) are very popular ways of paying for dental care. FSAs, available through some employers, offer a tax efficient way to save for health care costs. HSAs are available for individuals whose employers don’t offer FSAs as an option . Both of these types of savings accounts work the same way: you can put the money you earn into them pre-tax and apply it to healthcare costs, including dental care.
  3. CareCredit. CareCredit, America’s leading financing program, is a credit card used specifically for healthcare costs and is a popular option for covering dental care. Card owners pay a monthly fee instead of paying a large amount for a particular service all at once. If the care meets certain requirements, there may not be any interest added, as long as the full cost is paid within a specified amount of time. CareCredit is a great option, because it allows payments to be spread out over time for no extra cost. However, if full payment is not made within the time limit, high interest rate charges may apply. Ask if this payment option is available at your dentist’s office.

Here are a couple of additional tips:

  • Fix problems before they get worse. If your roof was leaking, you wouldn’t just ignore it. The same is true for dental care. Make sure to get cavities fixed, or they can turn into expensive root canals. And don’t skip those annual checkups and cleanings, because during your exam, your dentist is checking for signs of disease, including cancer.
  • Consult your financial advisor about your options. Like oral health, everyone’s financial situation is different. This is why it’s important to speak with a professional about which option for payment is best for you.

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