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How To Use Dental Financing?

You should check in with your dentist for teeth cleaning at least twice a year. As you get older, you can expect to need some off-cycle visits as well that go beyond teeth cleaning. After all, your teeth age just like you do. But how do you pay for dental work when the procedures start to add up? Fortunately, there are many solutions to your dental woes, from dental financing to working out payment plans with your dental office. Here are a few suggestions for payment when it comes to various dental procedures.

Dental Loans

If you have a major procedure coming up without a lot of expensive follow-ups on the horizon, a dental loan might be a good option for you. Dental loans work in much the same way any other loan does, with you applying for a line of credit through a financial institution and then receiving a sum of money that you have to repay while adding interest in. You will pay more through a dental loan than you would pay if you had the money up front, but the ability to break the high cost of a procedure into a number of more affordable payments is usually well worth it. Many institutions that offer dental loans do so at very affordable rates, and some even eschew the normal credit check processes. This makes it easier for people with bad credit or no credit to get approval quickly.

If you opt to look into dental loans, make sure that you have the ability to fit the monthly payment amount into your budget. Failure to make the payments on time could land you with increasing fees and a potentially bad credit score. If you do wind up having trouble making payments, it’s best to reach out to your financial institution immediately to seek an arrangement. Dental loans also work best if you have only one or two major procedures that you need immediate payment for. If your dental issue is a chronic one or you expect to have a series of expensive procedures, you run the risk of stacking multiple loans and causing yourself financial strain due to the high payments. The addition of interest rates and fees can potentially hurt you financially in the future.

Dental Payment Plans

In some cases, your dental office might provide you with a way to make payments directly rather than dealing with an external lender. This cuts down on a lot of paperwork, as you don’t have to apply for a loan or other line of credit in order to make your payments. Sometimes, the dental office might have an agreement with a financial institution that provides you with the money to make the payment. In most of these cases, the agreement comes without a prior credit check and does not affect your credit score. This makes such an arrangement ideal for those who do not want to worry about the impact that getting a loan might have on their long-term credit worthiness.

The key with dental payment plans is to make sure that you and your dental office are on the same page. You should make sure that you ask any questions you have up front before you enter into a formal agreement. Failing to pay according to the agreed-upon plan can strain your relationship with your dental office, which could potentially cause problems for you down the line. If you stop making payments altogether, you won’t see a direct impact on your credit score but you will probably need to find a new dental office. In extreme situations, the office may also be able to seek a legal settlement requiring you to make payments. All of these potential problems can be avoided through clear communication, so be sure to talk things through with your dental office beforehand.

Dental Credit Cards

Some healthcare financing companies offer special credit cards that you can use for both dental procedures and other healthcare-related costs. These cards work just like a normal credit card, but can only be used at a participating healthcare provider. You complete an application for this card just like you would for a department store card or bank-provided credit card, and your credit worthiness combined with the procedure needed determines the initial credit limit. In many cases, you get the benefit of an introductory period where you receive 0% interest. If you can pay off the debt before the interest rate kicks in, you have no additional fees to pay.

The 0% introductory interest rate offered by many healthcare credit cards makes them very tempting. However, you should strive to pay that debt off in full before the introductory period ends. Once you start paying interest, you not only have to pay what you would in a normal month but also have to pay off the interest that you would have paid during your “free” months. In other words, if you have 12 months of 0% interest but fail to pay off the debt in full by the end of that period, you then need to pay the interest from each of those 12 months for which you didn’t pay. This makes a dental credit card worthwhile for debts you can pay off quickly but potentially problematic for long-term financing.

Factoring in Dental Insurance

No matter which financing option you consider, your dental insurance plays a large role in what sort of procedures you can afford and how much you need to pay for them. You should make sure that your dental office always has the most up to date insurance information possible. That way, they can check any quotes for procedures or products against your insurance plan. This allows them to provide a good estimate as to how much your insurance plan will cover. While the estimate is not always 100% accurate, this allows you to form a better guess as to how much financing you need. If a procedure costs $5,000 but your plan will cover half of it, for instance, then you know that you will only need $2,500 in financing.

For procedures that require multiple appointments, you may be able to use your dental insurance to lessen the amount of financing you need. Many plans have a yearly limit; after which you need to pay remaining fees out of pocket. If you know you have multiple procedures upcoming, you could plan one near the end of your insurance cycle and another near the beginning. This allows you to essentially double your yearly limit and thus take out less financing to cover the remainder. Many dentists work with patients to schedule procedures in this matter. Certain expensive procedures, such as dental implants, require multiple appointments that can be spaced out based partly on your insurance needs.

What if My Insurance Changes?

Dental insurance can change for a variety of different reasons, from new government mandates to a change in employer. In some cases, you might even opt for private insurance if you feel that your existing plan doesn’t cover all of your needs properly. When it comes to dental financing, the insurance that you have when you apply for the financing is what matters. Essentially, your dental office generates a charge for the procedure. This charge then goes through your insurance provider, which pays a certain portion. The remainder is up to you to pay. When you make a financing plan, that bill is officially paid—any payments that you make go toward the debt it generates.

Normally, this means that you don’t have to notify your dental office or the provider of a dental loan if your insurance changes. However, you should pay extra attention to a few potential factors that might change things. The biggest thing to pay attention to when your dental insurance changes is whether those changes are retroactive. Some insurance plans provide retroactive savings for procedures that took place 30 or even 60 days before the plan officially began. In that case, you might be able to reclaim some of the money that you paid for a procedure, if the new insurance plan is better than what you previously had. This does not impact your financing, but it may provide you with a refund on a procedure for which you got a loan. If you want, you can use that money to pay off your loan or financing agreement faster than expected.

Whether you just need a way to cover teeth cleaning costs or you have a major procedure for which you need financial help, there are many different ways that you can pay off the costs of a dental procedure. Inexpensive procedures or costs that you know you can pay off quickly can benefit from a dental credit card. Other costs are best handled through a dental loan or financing through your office. No matter what you need, almost everybody qualifies for some sort of financing, and these options work with your dental insurance to provide you with the means to improve your smile.

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Hello!

We are so excited to announce that the Royal College of Dental Surgeons has just given us the green light to begin seeing all non-essential and deferred treatment! Under the guidance of the RCDSO, all dentists in Ontario will now be able to re-open their practices for routine care and treatment. ​ Up until now, due to COVID19 pandemic restrictions, dentists have only been permitted to provide ​ emergency dental treatment. ​ This means that we have been unable to provide any other type of dental procedures since mid-March.

We can't wait to get back to work and begin seeing our patients again! We are spending this week implementing the changes mandated by the ministry of health and the dental association and will resume a normal schedule starting next week. You can rest assured that the safety of our community, our patients, and our team members are of utmost importance and we will have implemented additional safety measures and precautions. This is in addition to our already strict infection control protocols that were already in place.

Please be patient with us and give us some time to contact you; if you have had an appointment rescheduled, you are at the top of our list to call. We will be doing our best to ensure that everyone is re-booked as soon as possible. However, if you would like to get in sooner, or are having a concern, please feel free to give us a call.

What can I expect at my next dental appointment?

  • We will be ​pre-screening ​all patients prior to their appointments, and one more time upon arrival.
  • We are requesting that only the person who is booked for an appointment enter the office where ever possible (parents and caregivers will be permitted if necessary).
  • Upon arrival for your appointment, you will be asked to use hand sanitizer at the front entrance, and also to wear a mask until you are seated in the treatment room. (A mask will be provided if you do not have your own)
  • We will be staggering appointment times to limit the number of people in our offices to promote and encourage physical distancing.
  • There are hand hygiene stations located throughout the offices.
  • We have installed plexiglass barriers in the waiting room to protect our patients and team members.

FAQ

When exactly can I book an appointment?

  • We are seeing emergencies this week, but starting Mon, June 8th, we will begin seeing all patients with outstanding treatment

What procedures will we be able to do?

  • We will be able to perform all procedures, including extractions, fillings, root canal treatments, fabricating night guards and anything else that has been delayed due to COVID19

Will I be able to get my teeth cleaned and my regular recall exam (check up)?

  • We are hoping to begin scheduling hygiene appointments by the middle of June
  • As guidelines change this may be sooner or later

How will you contact me for my next appointment?

  • One of our team members will contact you to review your needs and schedule your appointment appropriately. We will be initially focussing on following up on emergency and urgent care. Please call, text or email us if you have a specific concern and we will respond ASAP.

Do we have enough PPE?

  • Absolutely! Our offices will be well equipped to keep you and our teams safe.
  • We have been providing emergency care throughout the pandemic with appropriate PPE

For anyone who may have missed our ​ Patient Information Webinar, here is the link to the recording:

https://youtu.be/OGniTtuw3n4

It is our goal to keep you updated and well informed. Please ​ follow us on Instagram or Facebook ​ for the most up to date information.

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See you soon, Your Smile Centre