A Guide to Affordable Dental Care

by | Apr 30, 2020 | Dental Advice, Finance

Looking for the best way to reduce dental costs for you and your family? We get it. Life is expensive, and finding ways to cut costs is an important part of budget planning for any family.

Still, it’s important to invest in dental care and make sure you are making smart decisions surrounding your dental health. We’ve come up with this affordable dental care guide to help you parse out the best way to budget dental care for you and your family.

The secret to affordable dental care

Whether you’re fully insured or you have no insurance, the secret to the most affordable care over the long-term is simple. Staying on top of preventive care.

While many patients try to save money by skipping a cleaning & exam every once in a while, or even going years without a cleaning, this will cost you even more in the end.


Let’s take a look at a patient from a couple years ago. Let’s call him Brian. 

Brian was a regular patient throughout his teenage years. He stayed on top of his dental health until he was no longer covered under his parent’s dental insurance. He had great oral health. Over 8 years, he had 2 cavities that needed dental fillings and no other major work. 

Unfortunately, Brian stopped coming to the dentist regularly.  went 3 years without coming in for his annual exam. When Brian finally made it back into our office, decay had gotten so bad that he needed a root canal.

Where did Brian go wrong?

While it’s understandable after so many years of great oral health to feel like you don’t need to stay on top of your preventive care, Brian’s situation is a great example of why it’s important. 

Brain’s root canal treatment may have been completely avoided if he had come into his biannual exams. It would have been identified early as a cavity that needed a filling, and a MAJOR expense would have been avoided. Further, not cleaning the tartar build up off of his teeth actually fueled the decay, and caused the cavity to become even worse.

We never judge patients for the state of their oral health, but want to empower them to make the best decisions they can to live a healthy and happy life.

What is the best way to achieve long-term affordable care?

For patients with dental insurance

Dental insurance can be a great resource for patients who have coverage. While dental insurance does not cover everything (and even what it does cover you still may pay amounts out of pocket), one thing most plans cover fully is preventive care.

If you have insurance, you must take advantage of your free (for you) preventive treatments. 

Cleanings and exams have the dual effect of catching issues before they progress into something more serious, as well as stopping such issues from developing in the first place. 

This will decrease the likelihood and prevalence of needing more costly (and invasive) restorative treatments and make dental care more affordable.

Affordable dental care when you are not insured

The overall strategy for uninsured patients is the same for insured ones — stay on top of your preventive care. While you will need to pay for cleanings and exams out of pocket, this is still a lot less expensive than paying for more advanced procedures.

In fact, staying on top of preventive care is actually even more important for those without insurance. While those with dental insurance may get some relief on expensive treatments (around 50-80% coverage for most restorative treatments), the full cost will be on you if you are uninsured. 

The best way to avoid these costly bills? Staying on top of your preventive care!  

How to pay for care if you can’t afford it right now?

We know that paying for expensive procedures can be hard, and a big dental bill can make life squeeze your finances. We also realize that the fear of this financial squeeze is often why patients avoid preventive care.

To help ease the burden, Ellicott City Smile Care offers CareCredit. If you’re not able to pay with cash, CareCredit can offer 0% interest loans over 6,12, or even 24 months. It essentially acts as an interest-free credit card for your dental treatments.

If you have any questions on how CareCredit works or payment or insurance options, let us know! We’re always available to help you understand the financial aspect of dentistry.

Bonus tip: keep up on oral care at home!

While regular preventive treatments are  necessary for keeping dental care affordable, making sure to practice excellent at-home oral care is just as important. Where to start? Make sure that you are…

  • Brushing twice a day for 2 minutes, optimally with an electric toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste
  • Flossing once a day 

Limiting foods that are bad for your teeth, including sugary and acidic foods. Diet is an important aspect of oral health!

Looking for a new dentist? Here’s the trick to finding a dentist that will provide the best value over the long run…

There’s no other way to put it — finding a dentist you can trust is crucial. How can you move forward with treatments and take advice from a dentist you don’t trust? 

We encourage you to find a dentist that you believe will be a partner in your oral health. 

So how do you find a dentist you trust? We recommend looking at reviews and testimonials to make sure other patients are connecting with a dentist you’re considering. We also recommend you speak with any dentist you work with at your next appointment and let them know your fears. 

Work with a dentist you can trust

At Ellicott City Smile Care, we have over 100 5-star reviews and thousands of patients who trust us to keep their care affordable.

We take great pride in helping patients get their health back on track. We’ll do everything we can to make sure you are put in the best position to have a healthy smile for the rest of your life.

Give us a call at (410) 964-9816 or contact us online to learn about our $69 new patient special.

 Dr. Stephen Levy

Dr. Stephen Levy

Dr. Levy graduated cum laude from SUNY at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine and trained in a General Practice residency at New York Medical College. He is a member of a number of dental organizations, including the Buffalo-based dental volunteer outreach program, B.O.C.A. Dr. Levy is dedicated to providing the highest quality of patient care with the most up-to-date, advanced dental technologies.