Saving Money on Dental Work

Medical is some of our most costly expenses and since dental visits aren't always covered by many insurances (nor by Medicare), folks sometimes don't go to their dentist every 6 months. I am not encouraging this. It's just a FACT.


If that describes you or someone you know, there is something you can do to protect your health between longer dental visits. I'll also tell you WHY.

Floss at LEAST once daily! Flossing not only removes food in between teeth that might cause cavities, it also wipes off built-up plaque along the tooth and the gumline which leads to teeth loosening and eventually gum disease! Plaque is also known to contribute to lung, heart and other diseases!

If possible look for the unwoven floss, which is looser and grabs more plaque causing material.

Start right after a dental cleaning and it won't build up as quickly. Your mouth will feel and all be fresher and cleaner longer too!

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March 20, 2008

Is there a university medical center near you? I have had my entire mouth repaired at the Dental School of the university at a fraction of what it costs in the mainstream.

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16 Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

April 14, 2006

The company I work for doesn't have dental coverage. Does anyone know of a good source for dental insurance? We have eye converage but no dental insurance. I may qualify as low income.

Janet in Golden, CO


By Pamela (Guest Post)
April 18, 20060 found this helpful
Best Answer

Check with your bank, car/house insurance company or even Sams Club. All have medical/dental/life insurances available for reasonable prices.

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November 14, 2010

My teeth are infected, and hurt bad, I have no job, no money, I have to pay $100.00 to get in to see my doctor. What can I do?

By Beth from Jacksonville, TX


November 14, 20100 found this helpful

Read all the Archives at bottom of page, there are many ways of saving money, and still be able to get the necessary dental work done. Also call Catholic Charities, they will be able to point you in the right direction.

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November 15, 20100 found this helpful

There might also be dental schools in your area, that need volunteer patients. The work is supervised by qualified dentists. I know what it is to feel horrific dental pain. I'm praying for you. I hope you can get help, very soon.

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Has anyone from the U.S. had any experience with going to Tijuana for dental care? I am trying to figure out what's important here. I'm skeptical about going alone and also what I might encounter there that I haven't anticipated. Any recommendations? How do I choose from the advertised programs?

I have a limited amount budgeted, about 1/3 of what I need for here in the States. I'm concerned that even with an estimate, that I might encounter expenses or experiences that I'm not equipped to handle.

I'm 76 years old. I hope to have one of my daughters travel with me. Would like to stay in San Diego if I can find an affordable place.

By Carolyn from Clovis, CA


April 22, 20100 found this helpful

Have you ever thought of going to a dental school? My husband's cousin is a dentist and when he was in school my mother-in-law went to the dental school to have him work on her teeth. All she paid for was the supplies. It was supervised by the teachers and she was very happy with the results.

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April 23, 20100 found this helpful

I have no experience with dental work done in Tijuana; however, I know lots of people (including my husband) who have had dental work done in Algodones (across the border from Yuma, AZ). Dentists are trained in U.S. and costs are about 1/3 of that in U.S. I haven't talked to anyone who was unhappy with their work.

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April 23, 20100 found this helpful

I went to the town near Yuma also, and was very pleased with the quality of the work. The whole place was cleaner than I had expected and the dentist was great. They even had bottled water from Yuma. It didn't seem quite as high-tech as some of the US dentists I had been to before, but with those savings I was very comfortable. I had almost a whole mouthful of teeth removed(they were very bad) and my dentures made, plus surgery on the jawbones for a whole lot less than what I had paid for 2 teeth removed and a cleaning here in the states. Also, I was in my 50's so I had been to dentists before with the same equipment.

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April 23, 20100 found this helpful

Consider a dental school before going to Mexico. There service are free are a fraction of the price. I had two fillings replaced for 0. I had a crown replace for under 200 bucks. They need the practice and are watched over by doctor.

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April 23, 20100 found this helpful

I would only consider going to a Mexican Dentist or Dr. after getting recommendations from close friends. You would not be able to get amends easily if things went wrong. Friends recommendations can help you make wise decisions. Find out if there is a dentistry or medical board and check for complaints. Google the dentist for his schooling etc. then call the board to find out if they have the same info.

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April 23, 20100 found this helpful

Two women Mexico? Have you not watched the news? Hundreds of people have been killed just since the first of the year. Many were innocent by standers. Please re-think this option. Try for the dental school here or apply for Medi-Cal. Be Safe. Good Luck. GG Vi

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April 24, 20100 found this helpful

Hello, Speaking from experience here, I did get my dentures in Mexico. I have relatives in Texas and stayed with them while getting my work done. I ended up having to have some bone surgically removed so saw a dental surgeon along with the dentist my relatives had recommended. Both were very clean, friendly, spoke good English and nice. They are licensed just as our dentists are should come with good reputations or you would not go to them here in the states either.

I know how it feels to be the minority, scarry, but they are just people the same as we are and if you go to a safe area there is nothing to worry about. Tijuana is not safe for what I hear but I shouldn't judge. I do know what I ended up having done would have cost around $4,000 here and I paid $1,500 total there.

I would not suggest going to Tijuana for dental care if you don't have a recommendation first. Also because of the danger factor I would not go without checking into getting a dentist that provided a ride from the border to his office. My BIL's dentist in Mexico did this for him, then took him back to the border to his own vehicle when he was done.

Just deciding to get dentures was the easy part for me, now that I have them. It is a huge adjustment to get used to them. Some people have no trouble at all and then there are others such as myself that do.

Please take time to consider if you can get by without dentures, if having a partial or other choices such as implants is a possibility I would recommend it. I wish someone would have talked to me about the choices before hand. My local dentist warned me but couldn't tell me from personal experience what it might be like. I am so stubborn I would probably not have listened anyway but at least I would have been warned. If you want to hear more from my personal experience feel free to contact me.
It is a big decision you are faced with, so take your time and check into the safety factor. You are worth so much more than the money. I wish you the best.

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April 24, 20100 found this helpful

One other thought, you have to have a passport. We got the "little" one. Can only cross American borders or go on cruises -- no flying. Costs a lot less than a full fledged passport. Also we are very happy with our dentist in Mexico (we live in Arkansas). Our "snowbird" friends recommended the one we go to. Would not got without a recommendation. Clean, modern, friendly and caring!

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April 24, 20100 found this helpful

I can't understand why anyone would want to go to Mexico period but especially to have dental work done. There are plenty of places that you can go that does not charge to much. These people don't know anything about you and if you have problems then you will need to go back to Mexico to have it fixed. You don't need to be dentist hopping from here to there! Good luck with what ever you do.

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June 10, 20100 found this helpful

Hi - I do not know about Mexico but have read both good and bad (more good than bad).
I just wanted to comment about the dental schools. The dental school at UF in Gainesville, FL works out of the Shands Hospital and nothing is free or even near it!

If you need a tooth pulled you have to be at the hospital (no appointments) at 7 AM and wait to see if you qualify and if they can see you. If you qualify they will give you an appointment for later in the day or the following day. If they "fill up" before you are called then you have to return the next day and start all over again.

The work will include an x-ray and pulling of the tooth (this does not include anything complicated) and the cost at present time is 90.00.
I do not know if they accept Medicaid but the normal person will have to pay or not get the work done.
Maybe someone else has a better "school" than we have but this is no bargain considering all the problems.
If you want other services then you have to apply to their dental school and if they need some practice with your "problem" they will set you up for work but that may take several days and you have to be available anytime they say (in advance) and that is not good for working people.
They have "regular" dental services but these are just the same as any dentist charges.

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November 13, 2012

Well, here goes and please bear with me. About 10 years ago I had some cosmetic dental work done and obviously I had to pay out of pocket. My teeth looked so much better and I felt good about myself.

Then the problems arose. When my parents and siblings saw my dental improvements, they verbally/mentally attacked me for having work done that wasn't covered by insurance. They have a mantra, that only procedures covered fully by insurance can be done. Weird and dysfunctional, yet true. Then my husband jumped on the bandwagon and sided with them. I paid for braces which I badly needed and had chipped teeth repaired, that's all!

Well, as a result of all this abuse, I just quit going to the dentist. Not a good decision, but the dysfunction and verbal bullying was just too much for me. Now my front teeth are wearing away (dentin is showing and discolored). I have many cavities and my overbite is bad. I don't think I can go through family bullying again, but need help paying for all the work that really needs to be done. I feel so bad about myself. I'm stuck.

Anybody have an idea if there's a good dentist/insurance underwriter that could help me? Please only sincere help. Thanks so much. I don't smile much anymore.

By Tara Lee

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July 16, 2012

I am in so much pain all my teeth are bad and need to come out. I can't eat or sleep. I am pregnant and I can't give my baby what it needs if I can't even feed myself? Can anyone help me please? I haven't gotten to sleep in 4 days and I am so hungry I can't stand up. It has taken all I have to type this. Can anyone help me with suggestions for inexpensive dental work options.

By Anastasia B.

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February 22, 2011

I have a huge dental bill. How can I find money or a way to work this out? I love my dentist and he has been working with me. I have applied for disability with hopes to receive that by November, but he can't work on my teeth until I pay more on my balance. Any ideas?

By Sue from Warsaw, VA

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April 17, 2012

I will be 60 in a few months. I can not work and I need major dental work. I do not have many teeth left and probably need dentures. Where can I find cheap dental work?

By Cindy R.

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October 29, 2017

I have teeth missing, I have 3 different arthritis diseases and fibromyalgia. I do have insurance, but they don't really cover implants. My dentures that I paid out the wazzoo for hurt and because of the fibro everything is a challenge.

I can't lay, sit, or stand for more than 30 minutes, so I need someone very skilled and very inexpensive. I have 2 five year old boys that I am raising with my husband, because my drugged out, I am too young, daughter refused to step up and raise them, but that isn't the problem. I am ashamed of my mouth, I have always kept up with my teeth and now especially after the flood in Louisiana, yes we are still trying to fix our home, we can't afford for me to get implants. They were quoted to be over $14,000 by more than one dentist. I also need more teeth removed because of problems getting to my general dentist.

So my question really is how can I get a trained, skilled dentist to help me fix my problem without going on national TV? I can barely chew and it is making my self image worse than it was already. I am depressed, hurting, and need some help.

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March 2, 2013

I know that this question has been asked a thousand times, but does anyone know of some fundraising options to pay for dental work? I have had a medical issue that has resulted in serious dental problems. I need extensive work done and I am just a bit short of my goal.

This is what I have already done:
I applied and qualified for state insurance to pay for most of it. And have gone through all the treatment for all the basic work that the state covered. I had the treatment done at the local dental school, I am lucky enough that mine is Marquette, which is one of the top dental schools in the country.

I have saved $4000.00 for the rest of the treatment plan that my dental student is recommending. She is trying to save the remaining uppers with bridges and crowns. I will have to have a partial on the bottom which is covered by medicaid. The dental school requires half of the payment before and half when they are done. Even with the reduced prices her latest treatment plan is more like $6000.00. She has said that they would fit the molds for all of them at once so the bridges and crowns match . So waiting and doing them one at a time is not an option.

I am trying to find a way to raise the remaining amount. I have looked at sites like pay it forward, but they seem to depend a lot on social connections that are not really available to me. I cannot find any grants on the subject to apply for. I feel like I have exhausted my options, does anyone have other suggestions?

By Tresa T.

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October 12, 2012

How can I apply for financial assistance for dental surgery? I need either a flipper or an implant as soon as possible! Or do you know if Palm Beach Health Care District covers dental implants? I had a tooth extracted in July and need a quick fix! Thanks.

By Michele R.

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March 9, 2012

I need help with dental bills. I am disabled and receive SSD. My husband has dental insurance, but it doesn't pay much. I started work on getting partial plates. Now I have bills for extractions of $900 and insurance only paid 300. The plate for the top alone is $1400. I also just had fillings in top and my co pay was $200. I need help, as I am unable to pay and the doctor says to get caught up or no more work. Thank you.

By Nora

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Many local dental schools offer free or low cost care. You can find your local dental school here.


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