Managing Dental Costs – Procedure Planning & Financing
In Ontario, many have the luxury of having dental insurance through their employer’s group benefits. This helps close the gaps left by OHIP’s reluctance to cover most dental procedures, including regular checkups and surgeries performed outside a hospital.
If your insurer only covers a portion of your dental costs or you are self employed and don’t have dental benefits, then you will be left to pay the bill for dental services. This can be stressful and also influence your decision to go ahead with dental procedures entirely, but it’s important that patients understand that methods exist to ease the financial burden.
We’re here to help. Let’s look at some standard dental costs and what treatments and procedures are generally considered to be necessary. Next, we’ll review different methods like procedure planning that can include spacing appointments out or even skipping steps that might be redundant, as well as what type of financing options exist.
The aim is to help you understand that you don’t need to avoid the dentist because you are worried about how you will pay for it.
There is no standard fee for a dental procedure in Ontario. They range based on the clinic you visit and what is involved in the procedure you need. If certain materials or technologies must be used or a specialist must be consulted, then you might have to pay more. Multiple appointments increase the final cost of a treatment. It all depends on your specific case and what you need treated or fixed.
Braces for example, can be quite expensive but the costs vary based on whether you get ceramic or metal braces or choose a more advanced option like Invisalign. Furthermore, you might be willing to pay a premium to shorten your braces treatment and opt for Fast Braces, a procedure first offered in Muskoka-Simcoe County by Georgian Dental®.
Dentures are another treatment that can vary based on a patient’s needs. Some need a full set whereas others only require partials. Which type of dentures you need would impact the amount of time and the requisite materials. These two factors ultimately determine the cost.
Costs vary so it’s best to set a realistic budget and, if applicable, understand exactly what treatments or what percentage of a treatment your insurer covers. Most importantly, you should feel comfortable speaking with your dentist about the cost of any care they are recommending for you.
Our philosophy is to help patients stay within their means while receiving the very best dental care. We understand that every patient’s financial situation is different and we are well equipped to create a plan that will work for you.
Questions to Ask
Most fees are not negotiable but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t come equipped with questions to ask your dentist once you have been diagnosed and your treatment plan is in its early stages.
Some questions to consider asking:
- How many appointments will be required?
- Will you need to invest additional money into post-treatment care?
- Is every stage necessary or can some be combined, or delayed?
- What financing options are available, and do you have detailed info on each option?
- Can you break up payments between cash, credit/financing?
It’s recommended to tailor this list with questions that pertain to your dental needs and financial situation. You should find that most clinics are willing to work with you to find a way to manage your dental costs. If not, you have the option to shop around.
Is Every Stage Necessary?
When your dentist or specialist first sits down with you to discuss treatment and fees, you should ask them to take you through every stage to deem if each is necessary. Your dentist isn’t trying to pull a fast one. In most cases, they are outlining traditional steps but that doesn’t mean that you can’t combine, skip or delay certain ones.
Keep in mind, though, skipping steps could cause you pain or more money in the long run. In most cases, every step will be mandatory to help you achieve your oral care goal but it’s worth having the conversation.
There is another strategy to managing dental costs and this one is dentist- approved. Paying extra attention to your oral care and diligently doing as your dentist suggests in between visits can help you avoid paying for some services down the road.
This includes committing to a healthy diet as eating certain foods and avoiding others can curb dental issues. Proper nutrition and excluding sugars or other foods and beverages that can irritate your gums or harm your teeth is a proven preventative measure.
Also, consider adhering to a brush-floss-rinse daily routine, which seems to elude many adults. This can prevent cavities and ailments like gingivitis. Coupled with regular checkups, you should see an improvement in your oral health.
Additionally, at the very least, make sure you use what is covered by your insurer. If you get two regular checkups a year than book those appointments and show up. Not only have you already paid for them through your benefits but staying on top of your oral health can help in both the short and long-term.
Once you have a treatment outline and know the associated fees, you can return to your insurer to work out the finer details. The reason this is important is because even if certain dental procedures are covered, they might reset at certain points throughout the year. For instance, if you’ve already had digital X-rays, you might have to pay out of pocket if you reached your maximum coverage. Incidentally, you can speak to your dentist to align procedures with your coverage.
It’s never a good idea to delay important dental care, but you should work with your insurer and clinic to make a plan that can take advantage of your coverage. You pay every month to ensure that you can receive the medical care you need when you need it. Additionally, this doesn’t mean you should memorize your policy. It’s the job of your insurer to know the ins and outs of your coverage and how to best utilize it so you end up paying the least amount possible.
With respect to regular checkups, most patients don’t require procedures like X-rays every appointment. This is easier to schedule based around your coverage or when you can pay for it without stress. Ultimately, your dentist will tell you what can wait a little bit and what cannot.
Financing Options at Georgian Dental®
Paying for dental services is unavoidable but like the best dentistry, it can be painless. At Georgian Dental®, we are transparent about our financial policies. We want to make our services accessible and take pride in helping you achieve a perfect smile.
For insured patients, we deal directly with your insurer and handle paperwork to help you get reimbursed as quickly as possible.
We accept most credit cards and offer 0% in-house financing options, and third-party dental financing – interest rates vary based on your credit score and the amount being financed. We deal with two dental financing companies – Dental Card and Paybright.
For complex dental procedures – like a complete mouth restoration, or a complicated dental implant treatment, if you own your own home, you might be better off looking at how you can borrow against your home. The interest rates will be significantly lower with the higher treatment costs involved with these procedures. Speak to your bank or credit union to see what your options are.
Between in-house and these two companies – in most situations we can work out a payment plan that works for you.
Get Started with an Initial Consult
We are always happy to sit down with patients or prospective patients to discuss fees and payment options. We have knowledgeable patient advocates ready to explain what your options are, and to help you navigate this complicated process.
We are dedicated to explaining the cost of each procedure and to work with you to understand what your insurance covers and how you can deal with non-coverage treatment costs.
Take advantage of our free no-obligation consultation today to discover why Georgian Dental® is the top clinic in Barrie.