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8 ways to lower your next dental bill


Oral health is extremely important, but maintaining it can be costly. Keep your next dental bill low and your mouth healthy by following these eight simple preventative measures.

The importance of dental insurance

Photography by ©iStockphoto.com/Yuri_Arcurs

Poor me! Sore teeth, sour mood, empty pockets. Root canals are always terrible, but a monstrous quote from a fancy downtown Toronto dentist ($ 2,000-plus for my insurance-less self) made a bad situation even worse. Luckily, a little Nancy Drew action saved the day: I did some research, grabbed a $ 7 bus ticket and ventured an hour outside the city, where the same procedure cost hundreds less. Here’s everything else I learned about how to take and keep control of your dental bills.

1. Look into dental insurance
If you’re not blessed with coverage through work, paying out-of-pocket can seem like a great excuse to skip or delay regular checkups. “Whereas, if it’s already paid for, you’re going to use it just because you have it,” says David Baker, assistant vice-president of Individual Health Insurance at Sun Life Financial.

Dental insurance is loosely divided into three categories: preventive, orthodontic and restorative. If you’re in good health, a standard health plan can be purchased with an option to get a dental upgrade that includes checkups, cleaning, fillings and even X-rays for less than $ 40 a month. Buy a family plan to save even more.

2. Practise healthy hygiene at home
Your best defence against scary-size dentist bills is – you guessed it – prevention. “That way, you won’t find yourself in an expensive root canal situation to begin with,” says Dr. Robert MacGregor, a past president of the Canadian Dental Association. It’s elementary school basic, but you should be brushing twice and flossing once daily. Duh, right?

But the Crest and Oral-B Smile Survey found that just 30 percent of Canadians say they diligently follow the brush-floss-rinse system, and only 16 percent actually do. If you’re on the lazy side of this survey, try thinking of the cavities you might be paying for in the future.

Page 1 of 3 — Discover more budget-friendly dental health tips on page 2

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