You’re a family that has a tight budget… and there’s no room to consider sudden expenses, like you waking up in the middle of a night with a throbbing tooth from a cavity and needing an emergency extraction. What can be done to give you a chance to avoid this scenario from occuring?  

Even dental insurance isn’t the savior that it was in the past – they have a maximum amount that they pay, and if you go over it, you absorb the cost. Even just having a single crown could put you over the limit… and really hit your wallet hard. You might be able to spread out the steps of a very pricey procedure so that you might pay the maximum one year and then pay the rest of it the next year… or even use your employer’s flexible spending plan. Some even offer ways to finance it so that it won’t be one giant sum.

Here are some things that can help keep you on the track from possibly incurring very hefty dental bills for unexpected work that needs to be done at what are often very inopportune times, financially speaking.

There are some obvious answers, like brushing your teeth at least twice a day with a toothbrush preferably an electric one. You need to do this for two minutes each time to be thorough. Don’t just swipe at them for a few seconds

Watch Your Diet

While it should go without saying, sugary foods are something that you should eat in moderation… because who can avoid that tempting chocolate that’s right there in front of you? Still, there are a lot of other foods that can cause potential problems for your teeth. Don’t have a lot of acidic food like fruit.

Also, when people eat, they most often drink along with it. Besides sugary sodas, beverages like red wine can stain your teeth and also wind up damaging them. Limit cough drops and gum – use the sugar-free kind if you can’t resist.

Watch How You Use Your Mouth

Other things to consider are how you use your mouth. Don’t tear open plastic packages with your teeth, for example. That’s what scissors are for. Certainly don’t smoke – that will both damage and stain your teeth – and it’s not cheap to have your teeth professionally whitened. Even buying whitening strips at the pharmacy will add up.

Also, and here’s something that can start at an early age – don’t chew on pens or your nails. That can also damage teeth… and leave you with raggedy-looking nails.

Consider Skipping Anesthesia

If reading this made you grip your seat chair tighter, then this isn’t the option for you. One thing that can drive up the cost of procedures is anesthesia. If you can, ask for a numbing agent or nitrous oxide instead, which will be less costly. It’s understandable that it may be a non-starter for you – everyone has their own tolerance level.

Dr. Robert Trager, the JFK-LGA dentist is glad to work with patients of all income levels. If you have any questions about the costs of things, you can feel free to contact his office either via phone at 718-656-4747 or on his website.