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Ask the Readers | What can you do without dental insurance?

Hi Kristen! I’m Marie, also a mom of four kids (13, 10, 4, and 2). We’re homeschoolers too and my husband is self employed so money is TIGHT.

I just recently had a root canal done and it has cost us $2500! We’re also behind on preventative visits for all of us because other financial things keep coming up.

Zoe, at her first dental visit

We’re members of Samaritan’s Ministries which covers medical, not dental. We’ve had a horrible time with medical insurance in the past which is why we switched over but now I don’t know what to do about dental.

We’ve been paying cash for all of the visits, but finally had to turn to credit because we didn’t have the money for my root canal.

Do you have any knowledge or suggestions about dental coverage, plans, insurance? Thank you for your time!


Calico Critter dentist set

I’m pretty experienced at dealing with insurance companies, but I am NOT experienced at living without insurance.

My only idea was to see if your county or state has a dental insurance program for people with lower incomes; perhaps you could get approved for that, at least for your kids.

Aside from that, I’ve got no ideas, so I’m going to turn this question over to my readers.

Readers, what are your suggestions for Marie?

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Thursday 14th of November 2019

I recommend this great book about tips on how to keep your teeth healthy and decrease need for dentist visits: You can borrow it from a library or even google a summary of the advice given, though I feel it's worth reading the actual book.

Randi Macdonald

Monday 20th of May 2019

We have dental insurance( my wife is a police sgt with LAPD) and my wife still had to pay 2700 for 2 implants. Just the implant portion. The crowns will be about another 1400.00. Dental insurance is not so great anymore.

Michelle Hawkins

Saturday 18th of May 2019

Also self employed with no dental coverage. We live in an old neighborhood in an affluent zip code (an island of 1500 square foot homes surrounded by an ocean of mansions), and all the dentists near here are outrageous for cash payers. We travel 30 miles to an awesome dentist in a working class town where I used to live and work who sees a lot of patients without insurance, frequently offers specials for cleanings and xrays, gives a cash discount for upfront payment for fillings, is open weekends and evenings, and takes excellent care of my entire family.

The best advice I can give for saving $$$ on dental care is to budget for regular checkups and floss floss floss! My kids get checkups every 6 months, but my husband and I have been stretching ours to every 8 to 9 months if nothing seems wrong. That makes it 3 visits every 2 years instead of 4, so it saves us a little $$.

I don't cut corners on the kids - my parents took me to the dentist 2 times, once to get 4 rotten baby teeth pulled in grade school, and again in high school to fill a few cavities, so once I was out on my own and got a job with dental insurance I got to pay $$$$$$$ for a ton of fillings and wisdom teeth removal in my early 20's.

I hope you find a good solution for your family!


Friday 17th of May 2019

I agree with everything above and I would second those who say to look into Medicaid/Chips. We're foster parents and our foster children have Medicaid and most have them have needed lots of fillings and Medicaid covers it all. I know there's a stigma that comes with Medicaid but there shouldn't be. Sure, there are people who abuse it but the reason it exists is to help families make ends meet. There's no shame in that. We also have three children adopted from foster care who are on Medicaid (Adoption Insurance) and we don't feel bad about it at all. If you qualify for the benefit, there is nothing shameful about using it. Just do what's best for your family!


Friday 17th of May 2019

Our church has a benevolence fund which the Deacons oversee. We regularly help with dental bills and medical bills for those without insurance or with large copays. Also our cousinship (our term for cousins) has been known to help out each other with those same types of bills. It is a huge blessing to send a check or convey cash anonymously (slip cash in a Bible or hide it in a coffee cup when visiting.

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