Friday, September 16, 2011

Is dental care possible on a low income?

Dental insurance on a low income is not impossible... unless you want a 'good' policy. :-) Last year I paid for a dental plan that was less than $10 a month. It was a horrible plan which paid a very small amount of the bill. The dental office that took our policy had higher prices than the average office so I cancelled our policy.

I've been taking a small amount of money out of each check to save for dental work.  I knew  I could not save enough to pay for our yearly cleanings so I started looking for another option.

I discovered through my research that colleges with dental school programs sometimes offer discounted work. I checked out the closest university and discovered they had a dental program for dental hygienists and dentists. I called and sure enough they offered discounted prices for cleanings, fillings and just about any kind of dental work.

My first appointment lasted 3 hours which was longer than I had planned. I was assigned a young lady who took my health history and did an oral cancer screening. She then took xrays of my entire mouth. You could tell that she was not experienced but her professor was available to help her through the process. There was a problem with the xray machine so it's not totally her fault that it took so long.

The dental school program quoted $133 for the xrays and consultation. I knew that was high but figured I'd make up for it because the 'deep cleaning' would only cost $48 per quadrant compared to the $175 my dentist quoted. I have another appointment in October to start the deep cleaning. It sounds like they will do one quadrant per visit. A dentist will also look at my xrays and given an evaluation.

I had no idea what to expect but it actually wasn't a bad experience at all. There were quite a few people getting their teeth cleaned. The office was clean and bright and the instructors were very, very nice. The young lady was gentle. I'm a bit nervous about the deep cleaning being done by a non-professional but I'll continue to tell myself that I'll be getting better care than most people do in other countries. It's either this or no cleaning at all. I choose to be thankful.

I'll continue to do my part at home by daily flossing and 2 minute brushings. :-)

I'll keep you updated.