Dental problems with no insurance – what do I do??

We’re only human, and are not great at planning ahead for problems we can’t see, so we can get caught unprepared when we need a dentist.

Dentistry under a dental plan or insurance is great for our health and wellbeing as it will make regular visits affordable, meaning that minor problems can also be dealt with before they become expensive.

For most of us, it is cheaper to go without insurance and pay out of pocket for the occasional visit to the dentist. Unfortunately, this can deter us from as many checkups as we may need, and thus may miss early detection of problems, that may then turn into procedures that are a bit of a shock to our budgets.

So here is a guide on how to afford dentistry without dental cover.

1. Affordable regular checkups will let you quickly sift through and find reasonably priced dentists in a particular area. You can widen your search to look for dentists just outside of your area, or near your work for a visit during a break, or near the kids’ school.

But you can also look up Choice magazine [], to find out what is reasonable in your state. The national average price for an exam, scan, clean and fluoride treatment was $215 in 2019, but that varies from place to place, with Canberra being most expensive.

Their menu of prices shows that there is a range of prices from $41-$76 for a basic look-see at your teeth, or $49-$90 for a comprehensive exam, and $93-$165 for a scale and clean.

$41 is very affordable if you take good care of your teeth between visits. If you were to hop in to the nearest dentist without accounting for cost, then a comprehensive check, clean and fluoride service with a price tag of $300 might leave you daunted.

This means you might go less often, which puts you at risk of needing emergency dental procedures. To avoid surprise dentistry, early detection through frequent checkups is key.

To find these affordable dentists by cost and distance, you could go to the Australian Dental Association site Find A Dentist or Australia’s Top Dentists.

So use these resources together with the app to be assured that you have found the dentist that suits your budget.

2. Government assistance

The Australian government knows how important dental care is, and has provided some national dental plans.

The Child Dental Benefit Scheme was introduced to help families who are receiving some kind of government benefit, to make sure that children’s teeth are cared for.

Children aged 17 and under who are receiving government payments, or whose parents do, are entitled to free dental care, up to $1026 in two calendar years from when the benefits are eligible and first used. The fund restores to $1026 again if you are still eligible two years later.

This covers basic and necessary dentistry, not cosmetic or orthodontal work, nor that which requires hospitalisation.

Also, if you have a health care card or are on a government pension, you are likely eligible for rebates for dental services. [Check here] to see if this is you.

This plan is mostly to help in remote areas in most need of health care, and they tend to have long waiting lists, so for the sake of convenience and getting regular checkups, it is always better to find an affordable dentist rather than a free one.

Of course, also acts as a dental exam in its own right, and will let you know how well you are doing with your oral self-care, what more you can do, and if any problems are coming up.

If there are problems, answers the question ‘Do I really need a dentist for this?’ If you do, a quick visit can solve a small problem before it becomes a big one, and will then help you find the cheapest specialist.

Take a look to see how works, and download it.

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