The Dentist From a Child' Point of View

3 Potential Options If You Can't Afford A Dental Crown Right Now

Dental crowns are essentially artificial caps that fit over the top of a tooth to protect the sensitive pulp and root system inside. You might need a crown if your dental health has rapidly deteriorated or if a particular tooth suffered trauma and broke or chipped. If dental crowns aren't covered by your health insurance, or aren't covered very well, you might find yourself questioning if you can afford your procedure.

Always speak to your dentist about potential cost concerns, as there might be some alternative routes, depending on your circumstances. Here are three of those potential options.

Do a Filling Instead of a Crown

If the damaged area of your tooth is relatively small and surrounded by healthy tooth structure, you might be able to opt for a filling instead of a crown. Fillings are typically cheaper, particularly when you opt for the metal versions. This won't offer the most natural look, but it can do in a pinch if you can't afford a better option.

Note that fillings don't offer the same degree of protection as a crown, which basically forms a protective barrier around the exterior tooth. Getting a filling now doesn't mean you won't have to still get a crown later if the damage worsens. And talking a dentist into putting a filling into a tooth that really needs a crown can create permanent tooth damage that might require later extraction and replacement with a much costlier dental implant.

Ask for a Temporary Crown

This is really only an option if you can afford to get the real crown in the near future. Temporary crowns work the same way as a real crown but the dentist uses a much lighter bonding material between the crown and tooth. This means that the crown isn't strongly secured and risks falling out to be lost or swallowed. A lost crown leaves your tooth vulnerable to bacteria and further damage.

Talk to your dentist about if a temporary crown is an option if you, for example, can afford to get a crown in two weeks at your next paycheck.

Discuss Payment Plans and Savings Cards

Many dental practices offer payment plans of some sort, but they often require you to have a good credit score to qualify. If you do have good credit, this is likely your best option. Compare payment plans from local dentists to see who can offer you the best terms without compromising the quality of your care.

If you have less-than-great credit, ask your dentist if the office accepts dental savings cards. These savings cards are sold through third party companies and act somewhat similarly to insurance but usually cost less. You pay a flat fee each year and get a percentage discount off of select dental procedures.

For more information about your various payment options, contact a professional like Tisdelle Michael J DDS.