If you’ve ever suffered from a throbbing toothache, you understand the importance of dental insurance. Dental insurance can help you get a much-needed procedure at a time when there is no money. It also enables you to get regular dental checkups. Unfortunately, dental insurance works more like a coupon to reduce the cost of dental procedures. Whether it’s the individual or the employer who covers the monthly premiums of the coverage, here are four money-saving tips that no insurance company will ever reveal.

Use It Before You Lose It

Figures according to the National Association of Dental Plans show that only 2.8% of people reach their plan’s annual maximum. Granted dentists can be scary for some people. However, that’s no reason to stay home with a toothache instead of going to the dentist. The fact of the matter is, ignoring a problem won’t make it go away.  It is better to prevent or treat something early. This will save you money in the long run. When it comes to tooth problems, the longer you wait the more expensive the proper treatment becomes.

One thing that dental insurance companies don’t tell people is that most preventative procedures are fully covered. That means teeth cleaning and bi-annual checkups shouldn’t cost you an extra cent. When you visit your dentist regularly to get a cleaning you are keeping your teeth safe. Dentist can catch a problem early on and treat it before it gets worse.

Don’t wait until the end of the year to get your teeth checked. All this does is put your hard-earned money into the insurance company’s pockets. It is better to spend your money on preventative measures and prevent more significant dental issues.

Maximize the Flexible Saving Account, FSA

It is not necessary for a person to buy a full dental coverage, unless the company is providing dental insurance as a benefit. This is because the insurance covers only half of the cost of a procedure. This includes things like an extraction or a root canal. Don’t buy insurance and pay premiums that will get lost at the end of every year. Instead, open a savings account and add some money into the FSA. This can be used for to cover both medical and dental care.

Unlike insurance money, money in the bank will still be there even after the year ends. Even if nobody used it. Also, if there is an issue with the teeth or any other problem, the saved money can be used to solve it instantly. You only need to use a small amount to get your teeth checked and cleaned twice a year. You will be free to do something else with the remainder of the money if there are no dental issues to pay for.

Use Discount Plan

A discount dental plan is not an insurance cover. It is a program that allows someone to access a good number of dentists who give considerable discounts on most procedures. However, you will have to pay the dentist with cash. Luckily, some places give up to 30% or more in discounts. Over the past few years, a quarter of all Americans avoided going to the dentist because they could not afford any unnecessary treatment.

With dental fees rising by 20% and wages not increasing, many people chose to stay with their bad teeth until they can’t take the pain anymore. Even with the rollout of ACA, there is no guarantee you can find a good deal.

This has caused some people to join a dental discount plan where they only pay once a year and enjoy the benefits of discounted services all year round. However, one needs to spend a lot of time shopping for the best discount plans. Be sure to do your research before joining any plans.

Dental Services are Negotiable

One of the biggest mistake people who have insurance make is to assume the quoted cost of any dental procedure is the ultimate cost. While there is a minimum amount that every procedure can be charged, the maximum is at the discretion of the clinic or the hospital.

Luckily, there is a way to find out what the average cost of any procedure is by using Health Care Blue Book or FAIR Health Consumer and get an estimate. With that estimate in mind, there is leverage to negotiate at the dentist’s office, and most of the time they do agree to match the amount presented to them.

Another smart trick of saving some money with dental insurance is to ask the dentist for a discount. As stated earlier, most dental insurers don’t cover most procedures a 100%.  So, there’s some amount that comes from the patient’s pocket. It’s okay to ask for a discount for paying cash instead of using credit cards, which are charged extra.

With these tips, anyone can still have fantastic dental care at affordable rates. Apply the above suggestions and you will have no problem finding an affordable dentist. Your dentist will help you take extra good care of your teeth. As long as you follow through with regular brushing, flossing, and a proper diet, you will have a beautiful smile for many years.