Forecasting 2017: Steps to Plan For a Full Year of Dental Care Costs

December 19, 2016

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Whether you spend December 31st surrounded by snow or tanning in the tropics, there’s one thing many of us look forward to: the idea that the coming new year grants everyone a clean slate. In the popular tradition of establishing New Year’s resolutions, there’s something inspiring about the idea of a fresh start.

Having a full calendar year worth of days to make positive lifestyle changes appeals to many Americans. Most notably, there are two particular aspects of our lives that are highlighted by the promise of a new year and new possibilities: health and money.

Last year, a total of 72 percent of Americans reported making a New Year’s resolution to manage their money better or maintain a healthier lifestyle. If you find yourself in the same boat this upcoming year, creating a dental care schedule and coinciding budget is one great way to support those initiatives.

Of course, a full year of dental services and costs differs for every person. And, as with anything, it’s impossible to forecast the unpredictable events of the future. However, establishing a target number of dental care visits and setting aside an allotted amount of money to pay for those visits is a good practice.

Even if your dental care exceeds your budget, you won’t be starting from ground zero to pay for these services. The key to estimating the number and cost of dental visits throughout the year is accounting for a comprehensive list of possible reasons for visiting the dentist. Consider all the situations that may lead to dental visits throughout the year:

Regular cleanings

Even when we aren’t experiencing any pain or other issues, many people visit the dentist twice a year for routine maintenance. Having your teeth professionally cleaned, flossed and treated with fluoride helps maintain their health, whiteness, and strong enamel. 

Unexpected emergencies

It’s uncomfortable to imagine, but there’s a chance you could experience a traumatic event that leads to tooth or gum damage. Most of the time, these dental emergencies must be addressed by a medical professional. To avoid extended oral pain, budget for an unexpected emergency visit and a follow-up appointment just to be safe.

Teeth records

To monitor changes in your mouth over time, your dentist will take periodic x-rays. These images are important to detect changes to the roots of your teeth and other movements, like the presence of wisdom teeth. Other mouth records include cement molds of your teeth for braces, mouth guards or veneers. 

Cavity fillings

The sugary holiday season can impact even the most vigilant of their oral health. If you experience a toothache and discover the cause is a cavity, you may need a filling or even a root canal to mend the tooth and mollify the pain. Make sure you factor in the cost of such a procedure when budgeting. 

Family support

Many American families must consider the cost of dental care for children and seniors as well. If your dental care includes people other than yourself, consider making a budget that reflects the estimated cost of dental care for family members.

While you’re unable to know if you will be impacted by every single one of these ailments in the upcoming year, choose a few of these and estimate the amount of money needed to cover the associated fees.

Don’t panic if your cost estimation is higher than you expected. To avoid mounting dental bills or neglecting your dental care altogether, people without dental insurance can control costs through a dental discount plan for less than $10 a month. It's a predictable, straightforward, easy dental savings plan that helps people save between 20 to 50 percent off most dental services.

Avoid paying out-of-pocket by planning ahead with an affordable option and make sure you are prepared for the new year.

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