Can I See a Dentist Without Dental Insurance?

Is it possible to afford quality dental care if you or your family doesn’t have dental insurance? Absolutely. But to understand how, you’ll first need to know what goes into the benefits that you might be “missing” should you drop your coverage.

Understanding What Dental Insurance Pays For

Nearly all dental insurance plans are prevention-focused. What that means is that they “pay for” preventative services like two checkups and cleanings per year, plus any necessary X-rays.

When restorative procedures like fillings or crowns are needed, the insurance plan pays for less on the service, and only after a specific dollar deductible has been paid by the patients. More involved or complex treatments are covered at even less.

Don’t forget the “maximum allowable” amounts that once met, mean your insurance won’t pay anything more until the next calendar year. Additionally, elective services such as cosmetic procedures are not covered at all.

How Much Dental Insurance Really Covers

Once you’ve done the math, the money that you pay into your dental insurance policy each year is about as much as what it would take to pay for your six-month preventative care appointments, plus a little more. If you’re not one to usually have many dental problems, it may actually be more cost effective to pay out of pocket than it is to enroll in a dental insurance plan.

Insurance allowable amounts usually cap out at around $1,500 per year. Surprisingly, this amount has not changed in over four decades. While medical insurance coverage has adjusted with the cost of inflation, dental policies have not. That means you’re getting the same about of coverage as a family did in the 1970s…so when you need extensive restorative or rehabilitative care, practically no one will be able to say their insurance covers everything.

Complimentary Cash Discounts

Deciding to go to the dentist without insurance means you’ll be paying for your service at the time of the appointment. If you’re writing a check or paying by cash (and no credit card fees are involved,) most private practices will include a courtesy discount of around 5-8%.

Seeing a dentist without dental insurance is quite similar to fee-for-service dentistry, where the patient pays for their appointment and is then partially reimbursed at a later point directly by their insurance carrier.

How to Keep Dental Costs Down

Most oral health concerns are preventable. By choosing to see your dentist every six months, you’ll be equipped with the tools and information that you need to lower your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Additionally, your dentist can diagnose concerns at earlier stages.

Treating areas of decay or infection earlier means less-invasive therapies that are more affordable. Such treatments are also healthier for your teeth, because less tooth structure or soft tissues are involved.

In-House Savings Plans

Depending on where you live, your Kois Center dentist may also offer an insurance alternative such as an in-house savings plan. Such discount programs usually include fixed discounts or included benefits that replace the need for dental insurance altogether.