Many people suspect they might need dentures but have no idea where to start. Follow this guide! If you have any additional tips or suggestions, feel free to leave a comment!
Step One: Find a Dentist!
I know that probably seems like an obvious observation, but many people get hung up on the details to the point that they never take that first step in finding a dentist.
It is so easy to get caught up on the, “They’re not that bad”‘s and the “Maybe there’s another option”‘s. You are not qualified to call that shot. A dentist can see things that you cannot see, via X-ray. A dentist can examine your oral health in a way that you cannot. So don’t try to self diagnose. Seek a dentist.
Search online for dentists in your area and check out their websites. Many dentists offer “online promotions”, which are basically just discounts in the form of a printable coupon, code, or code word. Additionally, many dentists offer free consultations for new patients. So take that into consideration as well!
There are chains such as Affordable Dentures, Aspen Dental, ASAP Dental, etc. There are private practices. Only you can decide which is better for yourself. What works for one may not work for another. In dealing with chains, the office in San Antonio may be a nightmare while the office in Charlotte could be amazing. (just an example!) Also, many people assume that private dentists charge way more than a chain but that is not always true.
Reviews are not always reliable! Recently I scheduled my son for an appointment with a dentist who specializes in working with children with disabilities. I didn’t even do any research, I just looked at who accepted our insurance and called. After the fact, I decided it would probably be a good idea to check out some online reviews. Nightmare! They said he was awful! Something told me not to cancel. Something told me to investigate for myself and the moment this dentist stepped out of line, I could leave. Glad I did! He and his staff were awesome!
So why didn’t I suggest to secure financing, first?
I knew you would think of that! Yes, you do need to have the money for your initial consultation. But so many people say, “Why even go? I don’t have $5000 for dentures!”.
You don’t know how much it will cost because you don’t even know what you need!
During your initial visit you will get X-rays. The dentist will examine those X-rays and then do his own examination of your mouth. An assistant will take the notes and they will come up with a detailed treatment plan with cost estimates; A good dentist will, at least. From there, you will have a more accurate idea of what you will need to pay out of pocket and what your insurance will cover (if you are insured). With a good idea of the finances involved, you can come up with a plan on how to either sad money, obtain a loan, or secure another form of financial assistance. Also, some dentists are more than happy to work out payment arrangements with you.
So, see the dentist first!
Step Two: Research!
Believe it or not, researching should not be your first step. It’s like this: You develop a lump on your head. It is incredibly painful and seemed to have happened out of nowhere. After countless hours searching Google, WebMD, Mayo Clinic, you get it….. you come to the conclusion that it must be a tumor. So you start doing more research and mentally planning out your last will and testament, how you’re going to break it to your family, etc. Finally, you drag yourself to the doctor and find out that it is just a normal lump from hitting your head. Then, you remember running into your cabinet door that one time….. All that worry for nothing!
Once a qualified professional has given you a treatment plan and you know what you are up against, then you can begin researching because then you will know exactly what you need information on! Why research “life with full dentures” if you are only in need of a partial? You just don’t know what you will need!
Another reason that research should be the second step is because so many people tend to get so caught up in “googling” and “researching” that they never even make the first step: going to a dentist! You’re never going to get dentures if you don’t go to a dentist!
During the research stage, it is a good idea to check out some price comparisons. You can get online and get a ballpark figure of what others are paying, but remember, it really does vary by geographic location. Don’t ask me why! Some areas of the country charge crazy amounts of money for extractions and dentures, while other places tend to be dirt cheap! You can call local offices and ask for a ballpark figure. You must understand that this is an estimate because many things can come into play for your situation, making it cost much more or way less. But it’s nice to know that the average is around $3000-$6000, give or take, rather than assuming you have to come up with $10,000, or that you can get by with a grand.
Researching sometimes means: second opinion!
What if the dentist tells you all of your teeth must go but you are certain that six of your bottom teeth can be repaired? What if they tell you that you are not a candidate for dentures but you are certain you are? In these situations, it is best to get a second opinion! Revert to step one in this situation!
Step Three: Secure Financing!
The first step in securing financing is to determine how much your insurance will cover (assuming you have insurance). When you know how much insurance will cover, you will know about how much you need to come up with.
If you don’t already have some money in the bank or on a credit card, it’s probably going to be difficult coming up with several thousand dollars. However, there are some steps you can take to make it a little easier to swallow.
- Talk to your Dentist! It never hurts to ask. I know it’s awkward, but you want to get this taken care of, right? Ask your dentist if he is willing to work out a payment arrangement with you. You never know, they may even knock some off the price! Mine did! The worst that could happen is they will tell you they do not offer in-house financing, and will then refer you to the finance company they work with.
- Call 2-1-1 Many people are unaware of United Way’s free helpline. They connect you with local resources you may or may not have ever heard of. Just call, give them your basic information, explain what you are looking for (employment, transportation, medical, rent/utility assistance, you name it, they know of it!). There may be a charity in your area that you might qualify for.
- Save up, the good old fashioned way! I know it is such a dreadful way to go about things, but how in the world did our grandparents do it? Well, at least mine did! Some people go ten years without seeking dental treatment due to lack of finance. But in those ten years, had they have saved, they would have had the money and then some! Delayed gratification. The handbag can wait. The car stereo can wait. If you save now, eventually you will have the money.
I used Care Credit. Well, I used my mom’s. I wouldn’t recommend it unless you are extremely desperate. The interest rates are totally ridiculous.
Step Four: Don’t Back Down!
Yes, this step is so important that I felt it needed to be listed. I cannot tell you how many people I have spoken to who have done everything they needed to do, only to back out of it at the last minute and spend another several years contemplating the whole thing.
I understand if you are unsure as to whether you agree with the treatment plan or not. But backing down is not the answer. Find a second opinion. Get your X-rays transferred somewhere else. But please, don’t just sit around waiting. Nothing will happen unless you do something. No one will do it for you. An opportunity isn’t likely to fall out of the sky.
At one point, I really felt like backing out. I felt that I was making the wrong choice. I almost cancelled. But then, I thought, this is what I have always done. I’ve always made excuses. I’ve always thought up worst-case-scenarios. It was “now or never”. It’s SCARY. No one denies that. But if it is necessary, it’s necessary.
If I had cancelled, I’d be miserable to this day. I’d still be antisocial. I wouldn’t know what it was like to smile. I’d never have my YouTube channel. Never connect with so many people. Never win a contest which covered %100 of the cost of implants.
You have to put yourself out there.
The happiest and most successful people in life are the ones who went out on that limb.
Do something every day to work towards your goal. Never sit by idly. When faced with a challenge, diligently seek a solution. I completely understand how things tend to pop up out of nowhere the moment you try to focus your intentions on a major goal. But when this happens, that usually means that it is right there, just around these last few obstacles. If you give up, you will never know.
In a matter of about one month, I went from the idea of getting dentures, broke with no idea how to afford them, to the smile I had always longed for. It can happen that fast. And two and a half years later, I have implants, for free. This is what happens when you stay positive and always seek answers, always strive towards something better for yourself. Don’t focus on all that can go wrong, focus on all that can go right!