The average cost of a root canal is between $700 and $900, and unfortunately, if you are uninsured or don't have a savings account, it may be hard to come up with this sum. Other dental treatments – although they cover a vast range of prices – are similarly expensive.
If you are an adult wondering how to pay for dental bills more easily, there are a few options. If you want to safeguard your dental health without spending a lot of money, check out these ideas:
1. Investigate state coverage options
If you qualify for Medicaid, you may be able to get some dental coverage. Unfortunately, in 32 states, Medicaid only covers emergency treatment. That means that it doesn't cover routine care or things like root canals, but if you opt to have a painful rotten tooth extracted, it should cover that.
In other states, however, you may be able to get more coverage and help paying for root canals and other procedures. In addition to looking at Medicaid, also try to find clinics in your area that offer low cost or sliding scale payment arrangements to people in need.
2. Contact dental schools
In lieu of a clinic designed to help people in need, see if you can find a dental school to treat you. Dental schools are always looking for people with an array of issues on which they can practice. In most cases, you get the same level of care as you would with a trained dentist, but your bill is significantly lower.
3. Ask for a payment plan
Do not go into the dental chair without a plan to pay for your work. Before you start the dental work or the root canal, talk with your dentist about your options. Some dentists are willing to set up payment plans with patients. Others will direct you toward credit plans – similar to credit cards, there plans allow you to pay off your treatment in small increments in exchange for a low interest rate.
4. Pay upfront in cash
In lieu of enrolling in a payment plan at your dentist's office, ask for a cash discount. If you don't have dental insurance, many dentists are willing to lower your price in exchange for paying cash up front. If you don't have cash, borrow it, and let the discount cancel out the interest or fees you have to pay on your loan.
If you have great credit, you can get a signature loan or a line of credit from a bank. If your credit is lackluster, you may be able to get a cash advance from your bank or a payday loan. Either of those options will help you pay cash for your dental treatment.
5. Consider dental tourism
If you cannot figure out how to pay for the dental treatment you need, dental tourism may be something you want to consider. By travelling to somewhere where the dental costs are cheaper than they are in the United States, you may be able to get the treatment you need without spending a lot of cash.
Whether you travel to Mexico, a country in the European Union, India or somewhere else, you need to factor in the cost of travel as well as the cost of treatment. For an emergency appointment such as having a tooth that is giving you a ton of pain, it doesn't make sense to travel out of the country, but for other treatments including dentures, implants, veneers and a range of cosmetic treatments, it may make sense to leave the country and find cheaper care.
For more info, contact your local dentist.