Anyone living without dental insurance knows all too well that paying out of pocket for even a routine cleaning is often a costly affair. Combine a lack of insurance with a low or unsteady income, and you may think that it's impossible to see a dentist. However, visiting a dental clinic that accepts or offers payment plans is often the best way to finance essential care and maintain good health. Use these four tricks if you're having a hard time finding a dentist offering this kind of payment option in your area.
Use the American Dental Association Database
While not all dentists are members of the American Dental Association (ADA), the majority are members. This means that using the database at the ADA website will likely turn up a dozen or more local dentists, even in a rural area. The real power of the search tool at the ADA website lies within the advanced search options you can find once you complete a basic zip code search. Use the "More Options" button under the search bar to find a drop-down menu offering to sort the results by many different payment options, including the acceptance of payment plans.
Visit a Dental School
Dental schools are a great way to reduce the overall cost of treatment. Almost all dental schools offering clinics to the public operate at fixed and reduced rates because your treatment is used as a training and testing opportunity for experienced and soon-to-graduate students. Since these clinics are aware that many of their patients have limited and fixed incomes, some also offer payment arrangements. Some programs only allow for pre-payment in installments, while others will set up a monthly billing arrangement after treatment.
Check with Dental Credit Companies
Even if you have less than perfect credit, many dental and medical credit companies specialize in helping people afford care by stretching out an upfront cost over multiple months or years. Whether you choose to use one of these services or not, you can use the search functions on the websites of these companies to find dentists who are at least open to the idea of accepting a payment plan. Many dentists prefer a specific payment plan and outsource all of their arrangements through an outside company, so you may need to sign up for one of these services even if you find a dentist on your own.
For more information, contact your local preventative dental care services.