Parents are responsible for tending to their family’s needs and ensuring everyone stays healthy. Regular visits to the dentist and daily oral hygiene habits will help you and your children keep your mouths clean, which is crucial for your family's overall health.
Being able to afford regular trips to the dentist significantly affects whether you and your family receive the dental care you need. Knowing the ins and outs of finding ways to drastically lower your dental care bills will relieve you of paying out of pocket for dental treatments and procedures that your family needs so their teeth and gums are in top shape.
Importance of Dental Care for Your Family
While brushing teeth and flossing should be an everyday occurrence, keeping track of all the other mouths in your home in addition to your own can be quite the task. A routine visit to the dentist can shed a lot of light on how thorough the members of your family are at brushing their teeth.
Catching the development of cavities or gum disease early saves you money and keeps your family protected against unnecessary pain from tooth decay or infection.
Teaching Good Oral Hygiene to Kids
Making tooth care important in your family’s everyday routine goes a long way with children. There are several ways you can demonstrate the importance of brushing twice a day and flossing once a day for your kids, such as:
- Brush your teeth together.
- Play a song on your phone that lasts the recommended two minutes so they know how long to brush their teeth.
- Show them pictures of what tooth decay looks like.
- Walk them through how to brush the different sides of their teeth so they don’t neglect a spot.
- Regularly inspect their teeth.
- Hand them a flosser and show them how to floss.
- Start visiting the dentist at a young age so it becomes a normal part of their oral hygiene.
Family Dental Plans Will Help Save Money
Getting your family in front of a dentist regularly is the best way to catch the development of tooth decay and gum disease, so it does less damage and costs less money.
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, when comparing children who were seen earlier versus later in the development of cavities, children seen later had to undergo 3.5 more dental procedures on average than the children who visited a dentist at the beginning of their tooth decay development. Discovering cavities sooner resulted in far fewer procedures, therefore costing less money.
Most Dental Insurance Covers the Entire Family
It is always important to read the fine print of your family dental insurance policy to see exactly who will be covered. While some dental insurance plans you get through your employer only offer the benefits to the policyholder, many others will include you, your spouse, and your dependents.
In some cases, you may have to opt to include your children in your dental insurance policy, which could cause the premium to increase. Depending on the details of your insurance plan, your children will age out of coverage at 18 or 26 years old.
All dental insurance for families can be different, and answering questions about coverage and cost can be found in the details of your insurance plan. Typically, after you meet your deductible, a dental insurance plan will cover all of your needed dental expenses except for co-pays until your dental costs reach a certain amount. This is called your insurance maximum, and it occurs when the policy no longer pays for your dental expenses.
Financing Options for Family Dental Work
Paying out of pocket for dental work, especially if you are uninsured or have a high deductible, can be challenging. Learning what dental financing options are available can save you the stress of figuring out how to pay for needed family dental care.
Dental Credit Card
Applying for a health care or, specifically, dental credit card can give you the peace of mind of knowing you can get the dental procedure or treatment you need.
A dental credit card is exclusively for dental expenses, but it can be used alongside your dental insurance or on its own if you do not have dental insurance.
Dental Payment Plans
By breaking down a large dental bill into small, manageable payments, a payment plan can help you pay for dental care without taking out a dental loan or putting off a needed procedure because you can’t afford it.
Although a dental payment plan through a third-party financing institution will likely accrue some interest, you can decide on the number of months to spread the payments over to keep the monthly costs manageable while keeping the interest rate in mind.
Using a third-party dental plan is more likely to be accepted at more dental practices, which can be helpful if you are ever referred to an orthodontist or oral surgeon by your dentist.
In-House Payment Plans With Your Dentist
Some dentist offices will offer in-house payment plans to their patients. The terms and possible interest, if any, are completely up to the dental office. No third party is involved, so it can be more personalized for your situation. However, the in-house payment plan is often only available at that particular dentist's office(s).
Dental Savings Plans Prepare You for Unexpected Events
While regular dentist visits are crucial to ensuring your family's dental health is where it needs to be, paying for appointments for your entire family can add up quickly.
Whether you have dental insurance or not, asking your dentist if they offer a dental savings or discount plan can result in significant savings on routine procedures and treatments and unexpected dental costs. If you have a dental emergency like a toothache or a cracked or broken tooth, having your savings plan ready to pay for out-of-pocket costs can help make the rest of your monthly bills tight because of an unexpected tooth situation.
A dental savings plan gives you predictable payments, so you are never surprised by unexpected costs. When you sign up for a discount dental plan, you will be charged a fee to have access to the discounts. After the fee is paid, you can start using your discounts immediately, unlike an insurance policy that may have a waiting period before you begin to see your benefits. Other benefits of using a dental savings plan include the following:
- Significant savings on more frequent dental care needs like cleanings, x-rays, and routine exams
- Crucial savings on minor and major procedures like fillings, crowns, and root canals to make them more affordable
- Using your discount plan with your dental insurance to reduce the cost of treatments and services that aren't fully covered by your insurance policy
- More affordable family dental care for every member of your family
- No coverage maximums or deductibles
- Relief from paying dental bills if you have a high deductible insurance plan
Saving money on family dental care through a discount dental plan will help protect you from out-of-pocket dental costs.
Budgeting Dental Care for the Whole Family
While a dental savings plan can save you money over the year on dental appointments and procedures for your family, it can also reduce the number of times you will have out-of-pocket costs.
But even if you are using a dental savings plan with your dental insurance, there will still be times when you need money to pay for expenses that fall through the cracks of insurance coverage and your discount plan.
Budgeting for dental care costs by putting a little money aside each month will help you to never be caught off guard by an unexpected dental bill.
Even with good oral hygiene, things can go wrong. Getting hit in the teeth or developing an infection in your mouth can result in an emergency dental situation. Having a dedicated emergency fund to pay for the added expense of seeing a dentist outside of normal hours will provide comfort in a highly stressful situation.
Smile Generation Dental Plan
Find your next dentist with the help of Smile Generation, where you can read reviews from patients about dentists who work in your community.
Smile Generation’s dental plan is available to you at any Smile Generation-trusted dental office. This affordable dental plan offers significant savings, so you are always sure to get the dental care you need. If you are looking for a dentist or pediatric dentist, use Smile Generation to find the perfect dentist and set up your first appointment today.
- Nowak, Arthur J., Paul S. Casamassimo, JoAnna Scott, Richard Moulton, "Do Early Dental Visits Reduce Treatment and Treatment Costs for Children?" AAOP, https://www.aapd.org/assets/1/7/2016_Legislative_Fact_Sheet_4-PD_Article_Early_Visits.pdf
- "5 Ways to Make Toothbrushing Fun for Kids." Mouth Healthy, 5 Sept. 2023, https://www.mouthhealthy.org/life-stages/babies-and-kids/fun-ways-to-encourage-kids-to-brush
Smile Generation blog articles are reviewed by a licensed dental professional before publishing. However, we present this information for educational purposes only with the intent to promote readers’ understanding of oral health and oral healthcare treatment options and technology. We do not intend for our blog content to substitute for professional dental care and clinical advice, diagnosis, or treatment planning provided by a licensed dental professional. Smile Generation always recommends seeking the advice of a dentist, physician, or other licensed healthcare professional for a dental or medical condition or treatment.