How to Budget For the Cost of Dental Care

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The dental cost care can be expensive, even with insurance. It is important to budget for these expenses.

Check out the cost of dentists in your area, ask friends and family for recommendations and compare prices. Be sure to factor in your dental insurance plan costs, including the premium and annual maximums.

Preventive care

A dental savings plan can offer a low-cost alternative to traditional insurance. Most plans have lower deductibles and copayments, but the maximum amount they will pay per year is often limited to non-preventive procedures.

Visiting your dentist regularly is the best way to keep your mouth healthy and to identify issues early, which can save you from costly repairs in the future. Routine visits include cleanings and X-rays, which are usually covered at 100% by dental insurance.

A DPPO (dental preferred provider organization) plan has a network of providers with which it negotiates discounts, so your costs will be lowest if you visit one of these dentists. In contrast, an indemnity dental plan doesn’t have a network and you can see any dentist, but they will typically have higher deductibles and copayments.


A cavity is a painful and costly dental problem, especially without proper treatment. A filling can repair a minor tooth decay hole and prevent further damage. It is recommended to visit your dentist for a checkup twice a year and avoid sugary foods in order to keep cavities from forming in the first place.

Dental insurance will cover 80% of the cost of a filling after you meet your deductible. Most dental insurance plans have a maximum annual amount that they will pay for each service, so it is important to consider this when deciding on a plan.

The cost of a dental filling will vary depending on the type and material used to fix your tooth. Composite resin or tooth-colored fillings typically cost $90-$250 to restore one surface of your teeth, while gold and porcelain fillings can be more expensive.


Crowns are used to repair and protect broken teeth, cover up a tooth that is severely decayed or discolored, or replace a missing tooth. They can also address cosmetic issues such as a misshapen or crooked smile.

Dental crowns can be made from a variety of materials. Porcelain and ceramic are most natural-looking but can be more expensive than other options. Zirconia is a good choice because it’s stronger than other ceramics and causes less wear on adjacent teeth.

Metal crowns, on the other hand, are typically used on molars and can be quite affordable. However, they do not look as natural and may have a darker appearance than other types of crowns.

Root canals

Root canals can help to relieve painful toothaches, as well as preventing infection and preserving dying teeth. They are usually recommended if the tissues, nerves, and blood vessels inside of a tooth become infected, or if a cavity is too severe to treat with a filling.

The cost of a root canal can vary depending on several factors, including the location of the tooth, its condition, and how severe the infection is. In addition, the procedure can also be more expensive if it’s performed by an endodontist rather than a general dentist.

Dental insurance typically covers the majority of the expense of a root canal, after the patient has met their deductible. Those without insurance may consider joining a dental savings plan to save on treatment costs.


Missing teeth may seem minor, but they can cause problems with chewing and speech, as well as changes to the face and jaw structure. In addition, they can lead to gum disease and deterioration of the underlying bone. A dental bridge can replace missing teeth and restore function and esthetics to the mouth.

The cost of a bridge depends on the type used, materials, and location. The dentist can also perform other work on supporting teeth before the bridge is placed, which will increase the total estimate.

Traditional bridges consist of a false tooth (pontic) held in place by dental crowns cemented on the natural teeth next to it. This can cost $2,000 to $5,000. Cantilever bridges, which require only one supporting natural tooth, are less expensive.


Implants are a permanent solution to replace missing teeth and can greatly enhance your smile. They are more expensive than other tooth replacement options, but they last much longer and look natural.

The number of implants you need will influence your overall cost. A single tooth implant can be more than double the price of a dental bridge or denture.

The dentist will take X-rays and 3D images of your jaw and mouth to plan the procedure. They will also determine if you need a bone graft or sinus lift. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the costs of this long-term investment. You can use a third-party financing company or your dentist’s in-house payment plans. You can also save money by using personal savings techniques or Bento-style budgeting tools.


Orthodontics, including braces, are one of the most expensive dental procedures. Some dental insurance plans include coverage for orthodontic services. Coverage may require a waiting period or an annual maximum out-of-pocket limit, as with other medical insurance policies.

Dental insurance plans generally set a “usual customary and reasonable” (UCR) fee for each procedure they cover, which dentists charge. Dental insurance companies then determine the amount that they will pay for a procedure, usually using the local area’s cost of living and average prices in the region.

Other options for paying for dental care and procedures, besides insurance, are to use a flexible spending account, health savings or health reimbursement account, or to set aside pretax money in a dental savings account. Some communities also have universities with dental and orthodontics schools, where apprentice dentists can provide services at a reduced cost.

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