Want to Save at the Dentist? Brush Up on These Tips

NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- Everyone wants a set of chipper choppers, but they don't want to pay through the teeth to get them.

That’s a problem, because putting off going to the dentist can cost you big bucks. According to a recent Kaiser Health Tracking Poll, 34% of American stopped going to the dentist after the onset of the Great Recession in 2008.

But saving $150 by skipping a dental check-up can lead to a $1,000 bill down the road to fix a major dental problem, like a root canal or a crown.

Maybe that’s why dental office profits have risen steadily from 2008 to 2010, according to data from the financial services firm Sageworks.

How can you keep your teeth in good shape, while keeping your bank account in good shape, too? Try these five tips before you hit the dental chair:

Shop around. Too often, consumers pick a local dentist for convenience, and often because the dentist fits their insurance plan. Before you go that route, pick five dentists and ask for a price list. You’ll be surprised how the price lists will reveal a disparity in the amount of money different dentists charge. An extra tip: Ask if the dentists provides any “free" services, like cleanings or X-rays. Take advantage of the ones that do.

Get a “family” break. When considering a new dentist, ask for a 10% discount for bringing your entire family into the deal. The dental industry is a volume business, so the more teeth you bring into a practice, the better for the dentist. The chances are good the dentist will go for the deal.