How to Save Money on Your Dental Crown

When a tooth goes from needing a filling to a crown, patients can be surprised by the cost. I want to go over some ways to save money on your next crown. If you are wondering if you really need a dental crown rather than a filling, it is best to consult a restorative dentist in Roanoke like Dr. Burkitt. 

What Factors Impact the Cost of a Filling?

Upfront, a filling costs less than a crown, with or without insurance. But there are some downsides to trying to do a large filling in a tooth compared to a crown. 

Tooth Fracture 

With a very large filling, your tooth could have extremely thin support walls. From regular chewing, these can fracture and break. If you are lucky, you will get a clean horizontal break. If you're unlucky, this break could extend through the root surface. If this happens, many times the tooth cannot be saved and will need to be extracted and replaced with an implant.

Insurance Coverage

With many insurance policies, if they see a filling was done recently, they will deny benefits for the crown. This means that the patient will be paying a copay for the filling and the FULL fee for the crown. If a crown is done first, typically the insurance company will cover around 50% of the in-network fee. This means less out-of-pocket expense for the patient.

Needing a Core Build-Up

If too much of the tooth is missing, a core build-up will be needed to support the crown. If you have your dentist attempt a very large filling that breaks or gets new decay under it, the risk of needing a core build-up increases as well. The core build-up will need to be paid for in addition to the crown.

Waiting Until Your Tooth Hurts

There are multiple reasons for a tooth to have pain. One of the biggest ones is when the cavity is close to the nerve of the tooth. By waiting until your tooth is in pain, you are increasing the risk that the cavity is getting closer to the nerve. This will create pain in your wallet as well as your mouth.

This is because when the infection reaches the nerve of the tooth, you will most likely need a root canal. In addition, in most cases, after a root canal is done, a core build-up is needed to help replace the center of the tooth to support the crown.

Like many things in life, it is better and cheaper to prevent a problem rather than to fix it after something has broken down. It is also much better to fix a small problem instead of waiting for things to get more severe.

Does Your Employer Have a Health Savings Account (HSA)? 

A health saving account allows you to put pre-tax dollars from your paycheck into an account to be used for health-related services.

The amount you save from doing this will depend on your tax bracket and personal financial situation. But let's say for example you were at a 25% tax bracket. If you had a $1,000 bill from the doctor, you would have to make $1,250 to pay for that bill because $250 would have gone to tax. But you would only need to make $1,000 to pay for this bill with an HSA account

Please speak to your company and tax profession for more particulars about your particular situation. The above example is for instructional purposes only and should not be construed as financial advice. 

Does Your Employer Have an In-office Discount Plan?

If you do not have dental insurance, you should ask your dentist about an in-office discount plan. Depending on the office, these could cover different procedures. In most situations, it is to the patient's benefit to sign up for an in-office discount plan.

At We Care Dental Care we do offer an in-office discount plan. Give us a call at (540) 427-7274 to get the most updated information about prices and coverage.

Be Mindful of Your Insurance Annual Maximum 

Most insurance plans have an annual maximum for benefits. This means that after you hit that maximum for the year, your insurance will not pay any additional amount for your procedure.

This can mean a large treatment plan could easily reach your maximum. I have seen some patients who get dental insurance after years of not having any and want to get all their work done in one year. Many times, this amount will reset at the end of the calendar year (December 31st). For example, if you want to get all your fillings done in December and then a crown in January when your insurance resets, you could pay much less out of pocket.

I am not suggesting treatment should be done based solely on insurance coverage. But if your dentist feels that waiting a short period of time until after the new year will not negatively affect your treatment outcome, spreading out treatment slightly could benefit you. 

It is also smart to ask about how many remaining benefits you have near the end of the year if you have a larger treatment plan.

Reach Out to We Care Dental Care To Schedule Your Next Appointment 

If you are in the Roanoke area and have more dental questions, contact We Care Dental Care online or call our practice at (540) 472-7274.

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