School is just about done, you’re launching into the “real” world with your first “real” job. You’ve got benefits and everything looks awesome, but… it turns out dental insurance isn’t offered. Maintaining good oral health is essential for your overall health, but how do you deal with keeping up your healthy habits when seeing a professional could potentially mean a large out-of-pocket expense? Here are some tips for those of you who are looking forward to your first job, even if it doesn’t offer dental insurance.
“I’ve always practiced good habits and I’ve regularly seen a professional for exams and cleanings.”
Excellent! In all likelihood, you’re in good shape as you get started. Keep in mind that emergencies and traumas are still possible, so it would be good to do your research and identify a practice where you live so that if something comes up, you’ve got a trusted place to go. As you do your research, ask your friends and work colleagues where they go for their dental care. Call the office to see if they offer any discounts or resources to patients without insurance. Don’t forget to obtain your dental records from your previous practice and have them transferred over to your new one when you’re ready. It’s good to establish a relationship with your new dentist, even if you won’t be able to see them as often as you want. As ever, to ensure that your good oral health will last through the periods between appointments, maintain strong, consistent home hygiene care. The more diligent and proactive you are, the better chance you have of avoiding an emergency.
“What’s the cost for not having insurance if I need care? Should I just buy my own insurance?”
The thing about dental insurance is that every offering is a little bit different. Because they are wide and varied, with limitations and guidelines, some dental procedures you might need may be excluded or not covered anyway. Some dental insurance packages come with maximums and other restrictions, which means that multiple restorations, crowns or root canals may not be covered at all or may only be partially covered (meaning you’ll be paying out of pocket anyway).
Indeed, getting your insurance through your employer often means that you are locked into a specific package. If you have the ability to purchase your own insurance, make sure you very carefully researching what you are getting, and keep in mind that your monthly premium might be more or on par with the cost of a single appointment for a regular cleaning and exam with a qualified dentist.
“Are there any other resources out there for me? Just in case?”
There are plenty of ways to maintain your healthy habits and seek treatment if you need it. Local community health centers and university dental clinics provide quality service at reduced costs. Keep in mind that these practices serve a lot of patients and you may need to plan well ahead for a regular appointment. Do your research and give them a call.
You may also want to consider a dental practice that works under a larger, national chain. They sometimes offer discounts to patients who do not have dental insurance. However, careful research about a specific office is still vital to assure you are getting the kind of care you want.
Remember, seeing a dentist regularly is not only about keeping your teeth clean. Dental exams include oral cancer screenings, an inspection of your gums, and radiographs (X-rays) that examine your teeth for potential cavities.
“I’m experiencing pain. How long can I go before I have to seek treatment?”
If you are experiencing pain, it’s always best to seek professional help. Cavities, over time, may get bigger and reach the nerve of your tooth, requiring even more treatments. The more treatments you need, the higher the cost. Seeking treatment sooner rather than later can save you a lot of grief (living in pain is no fun!) and save you a bit of cost. Don’t wait.
Finally getting out into the world and getting started is a big deal and you should be feeling proud! Just don’t forget to take care of yourself. Taking good care at home, keeping up with regular appointments, and seeking treatment when emergencies arise is not as expensive as you might think it is. Do your research, create a budget, and do what you can to maintain your best oral health.
Have specific questions about your personal oral health as you move from your Boston-area college out into the real world? Maybe you’re moving to Boston for school or your first job and you’re looking for a periodontist or endodontist to continue treatment from where you were before? Check out our positive reviews and learn why we’re a unique practice here for your best oral health. We look forward to your next visit!
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