See a Dentist Now to Save Money Later

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Cost Cutters

Downsize your dental bill with these tips.

Be honest about your financial situation.
"You have to talk on a very personal level with the doctor who's treating you. Say, 'I really want to save this tooth. How can we work this out?'" suggests Alan Gluskin, DDS, professor of endodontics at the University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, in San Francisco. "Most are amenable to some sort of payment plan."

Ask questions.
Is there an alternative or less-expensive treatment? Is financing or a payment plan available? Is there a temporary fix until your financial situation improves?

Maximize your benefits.
When you reach the limits of your coverage for the year, ask your dentist if other work can wait until after the new plan year begins.

Go to school.
If you live near a dental school, give them a call. Fees are often lower, and the work is supervised by faculty members.

Take a tax break.
Use your Flexible Spending Account or Health Savings Account to pay for dental expenses on a pretax basis. Don't have one? Dental fees are tax-deductible to the extent that your total health-care expenses exceed 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income. It can be hard to reach that level, but you may catch a break if you're getting expensive procedures, such as implants, or your family has a lot of combined medical and dental expenses relative to your income in a single calendar year.

Continued on page 4:  The White Stuff


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