How do I reduce the cost of visiting the dentist?
With the cost of living crisis making headlines in the media and everyone looking at ways they can save money, here we look at ways to help reduce your dental bills and finding cheaper dental care…
1. Good oral techniques and routine
Yes, ‘prevention is better than cure’ when it comes to dental care. That’s why seeing a dental hygienist is important. Take good care of your teeth and they will simply last longer.
Brush your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes and definitely before you go to bed at night (as plaque bacteria are most active whilst you are sleeping). Use a good tooth brush i.e. one that hasn’t worn out and doesn’t have old, splayed bristles (3 months for changing your toothbrush is a good guide). If you can, use an electric toothbrush as these can provide very thorough cleaning. We recommend Oral B oscillating technology toothbrushes. There is a huge range (see here at Oral B) , you don’t have to buy the top of the range though to get a very effective electric toothbrush.
Flossing is very important to clear away the plaque and gunk between your teeth that your toothbrush can’t reach. Some people find flossing to be very fiddly. If this is the case, you can use floss picks, which are pre-loaded flossing gadgets. More expensive than traditional floss, but still cheaper than dental fillings, root canal treatment and certainly better than having a rotten tooth extracted.
2. Consider your diet and eating habits
Reduce surgery food as this feeds the plaque bacteria. Also reduce acidic foods as this softens your dental enamel which can cause teeth to wear out more quickly. We know that it is impossible to avoid all sugary and acid food though. So…. try not to snack and instead have fixed meals. Allowing more time for saliva to neutralise the acid in your mouth will naturally help your teeth. You can also try using a sugar free gum between meals as this prompts the production of saliva in your mouth.
3. Regular dental appointments
Some people have excellent dental hygiene and very healthy teeth. For many people though they need help from their dentist and dental hygienist to clear away all of the plaque and calculus (that horrible stuff that has to be scraped away from your teeth as brushing alone won’t remove it). By ensuring that your teeth are professionally cleaned and dental hygiene is optimised, there will be less opportunity for tooth decay and gum disease to occur… that would require costly dental treatment.
4. Don’t ‘just wait and keep an eye on it’
The truth is we are born with all of our teeth and once they erupt, it’s a downhill journey for them. Whilst taking good care of your oral health, considering your diet and regular appointments will certainly help you keep healthy and natural teeth for longer, you will at some point inevitably develop problems. If you or your dentist does spot something that needs fixing, do so quickly. Teeth will not repair themselves and a small filling that could easily be repaired using composite bonding at minimal cost, will just deteriorate over time and will result in more complex and costly dental treatment.
5. NHS dentist or Private dentist?
With 9 out of 10 NHS dentists not accepting NHS patients and massive waiting lists and restrictive treatment options available under the NHS, it may be time to consider the benefits of opting for a private dentist. Whilst affordability may be an issue for some people, delaying your regular dental check up could be a false economy if your oral hygiene deteriorates and small dental problems are allowed to become big issues. Many dentists now offer dental plans that allow you to spread the cost of your dental essentials each month. These often include access to emergency dentist appointments at the weekend and have an element of worldwide dental cover too.
6. Look out for dentist special offers
Some dentists offer special discounts and money saving offers so that you can save money on your dental fees. These can include refer a friend schemes, teeth whitening discounts and even wedding dentist discounts. Some dental practices also offer incentives for new patients too.
7. Free dental consultations
Some practices offer free online dental consultations, remote cosmetic consultations via Zoom or even free virtual smile consultations where you can upload images of your teeth and ask for advice from the comfort of your own home.
We hope these tips help. If you need any advice about private dentistry or if you are looking for a new dentist in Leeds, please give us a call on 0113 275 1323 during our normal opening hours, send us an email enquiry or book online 24/7 via our online portal.