Visiting the dentist for check ups and dental work is a necessary part of life, however many Australians avoid the dentist due to financial limitations. As a result, dental health in Australia is some of the worst in the developed world, with thirty-year-old Australians having an average of 10 decayed teeth. If you want to maintain your dental health without breaking the bank, check out these four tips for saving money at the dentist.

Visit a community dental clinic

If you hold a current a healthcare card, commonwealth seniors card or pensioner concession card, you may be eligible for subsidised dental services at your local community dental clinic. Depending on your state or territory, you may receive free or discounted emergency dental service, and while you may receive subsidised general dental work, you may have to join a waiting list for non-emergency treatment. For instance, Queensland offers oral health services to eligible dental patients at no out of pocket expense, while South Australian patients are required to pay a client fee based on the type of dental care they receive.  Contact the public dental service provider in your state or territory for more information.

Ask about payment options

When you book an appointment with your dentist, make sure you enquire about the range of payment options that they provide to customers in your financial situation. If you are suffering from financial hardship, they may have a dental payment plan that you can take advantage of, which may save you paying for your dental treatment with a credit card that incurs interest. Alternatively, your dental clinic may offer a discount for clients paying with cash at the time of treatment.

Consider purchasing dental insurance

If you have private health insurance, you may be able to take advantage of dental rebates and only pay a gap fee when you receive dental care. Depending on your insurance provider, you may be subject to waiting periods, exclusions and limits to your dental coverage. Alternatively, you may wish to invest specifically in a dental care plan. A popular option in many other developed countries, with a dental care plan you receive an upfront discount on all dental work in exchange for a low annual fee. A dental care plan may be a wise financial move if you want to skip the waiting period, and have a considerable amount of dental work scheduled in the future.

Preventative dental care

Looking after your teeth at home on a daily basis will help to keep you out of the dentist's chair. Make sure you brush your teeth twice daily, regularly floss your teeth, and keep your sugar consumption low- be particularly mindful of sugary drinks, which erode your tooth enamel. Having your teeth professionally cleaned and checked every six months will also help to keep your smile healthy, while allowing your dentist to diagnose dental problems before they become severe.

For more information and advice on saving money on your next dental bill, contact your local subsidised country dental clinic today.