How To Reduce Dental Costs
If you financially struggle with being able to pay for housing and food, then you know, going to the dentist just isn’t in the budget.
Barry and I know this struggle all to well. We cannot afford the costs involved with seeing a dentist on a regular basis, or any basis for that matter. The last time I saw a dentist was for a cavity in a molar that was too far gone. I had the tooth removed—that was 6 years ago. Before that it had been 11 years since I’d had a check up. In fact, since I turned 18 years of age, I can only afford to see a dentist once every 10 years or more.
It has been about 4 years since Barry also saw a dentist. That too, was for an emergency tooth removal due to a cavity too far gone.
Where Have The Old Fashioned Dentists Gone?
About 15 years ago we had a good old fashioned dentist in our community that knew his stuff about teeth. And he also knew there was no need to charge outrageous rates either.
This Dentist and his family lived a comfortable lifestyle and could afford yearly vacations as well. He was even able to financially afford to retire in his 50’s. But, boy, oh, boy, does the community ever miss him and his excellent service and prices.
Without him, many of us who do not have access to either Social Services Dental Care or employment Dental Benefits, are no longer able to receive regular dental care.
He was extremely reasonably priced for those living on minimum wage or no dental benefits. This Dentist charged only $55 a procedure. It didn’t matter whether you needed a:
- or even an extraction
Now if he could do all of these types of procedures for only $55 each, it leaves you asking, why can’t other dentists do the same?
Where have the old fashioned dentists gone?
What Can You Do To Look After Your Own Teeth?
When you can’t afford to see a dentist at the rates they charge today, then you need to look after your own teeth.
There are a few strategies that you can use to try and keep your teeth in as good repair as possible.
- Brush your teeth 3 times a day
- Suffer from bleeding gums? Brush your teeth 3 times a day—you may need to get a firmer toothbrush too. I only use a firm toothbrush. Remember, bleeding gums—brush MORE, not less. Brushing more often will actually toughen up your gums. And that is important to have them healthy to hold your teeth in place. Brush MORE!
- Use Dental Floss regularly to clean between the teeth and under the gum line.
Almost weekly you will be able to find one store or another in your region selling both toothpaste and toothbrushes for $0.88-$1 each. So this is an inexpensive way to look after your own teeth. By brushing and flossing regularly you will prevent the build up of plaque on your teeth.
As well, reduce the amounts of sugary and acidic foods and drinks you consume. Both of these items tend to erode the enamel off of your teeth more quickly. Remember, you need to keep your teeth for as long as possible. Preferably for your entire life. After all, dentures are a whole other huge expense you can’t afford either.
It is up to you to try and protect your teeth as long as possible. So, if you are like me, and in need of dental care right now, these are some of the things you can do to try and stretch out the time between visits.
Dental Services Covered By Social Services Programs
If you are on social services programs such as Ontario Works (OW) or Ontario Disability Support Plan (ODSP), you may be eligible to access some free dental services.
For instance, if you have a child aged 17 or younger, and you have a low income, there is the Ontario Smiles Dental Bus that covers our region. This is a traveling dental office that provides basic dental services for your child.
Just recently, because adults on Social Services have experienced great difficulty in securing appointments with area dentists, a Dental Office, just for them has been set up at the Health Unit in our Town.
However, for many of us, like Barry and I, or those with minimum wage jobs with no benefits, we cannot access this Dental Office. We do not qualify, even though our income levels are lower than those on some of the Social Assistance Programs.
Free Dental Care Day Events
Annually you may hear of 1 day Dental Care Day blitzes in your community. This is a great public service that some dentists are offering. The unfortunate part is that some people will wait in line, camped out in fact, to be turned away. There just is so much need for dental care and not enough hours in the free Dental Care Day blitzes.
I missed out on the Free Dental Care Day in our community last year. I was 2 people away from the door when the word came that they weren’t taking any more that day. You see, I have another molar that has a cavity. However, I am still babying it along. Lots of tooth brushing and flossing is involved. By the time I do get to a dentist it also will be needing to be pulled, not saved.
So far so good, I’ve been able to keep the cavity under control. Although not painful yet, it is starting to be cold/hot sensitive. So I am unsure whether I will be able to save it for an additional 1-2 years. But here is hoping the brushing and flossing will buy me as much time as possible.
I already fear that this tooth is probably already too far gone to be saved by a filling. This means that when we are able to get me to a dentist, it will be to have it pulled.
We’ve heard that many dentists are suggesting root canal procedures, however, that is just an absurd price and absolutely will never be considered an option for us. It is either—fill it or pull it.
Struggling Just Like You
Barry and I know how frustrating it is to not be able to get basic health services such as Eye Care and Dental. We know what hopeless feels like. Even when it gets to the point that our temporary fixes that we’ve been discussing, no longer work. We still won’t be able to pay for the basic services. In fact, our debt will hugely increase as a result as we will have to pay for an emergency dental visit on a credit card.
A credit card whose debt owing continues to rise month after month, no matter how hard we try. No matter how much we go without, such as eye care and dental services, other debts such as groceries, even at $200/month, still have to be paid on the credit card.
But our hope for you is that by sharing our struggles, you will be EMPOWERED towards a HOPE and a FUTURE. Because no matter how hard things are, we know that we are doing God’s Will for our lives. Even if that means our struggles, helps keep us humble, so that we can better relate to you in your struggles.