In these tense times, it can be tempting to ignore the nagging toothache and put off a visit to the dentist. After all, paying for dental treatment can sometimes be really expensive.
And that’s if you can get an appointment first: Like other industries recovering from the effects of the pandemic restrictions, the dental industry is struggling with staffing shortages while grappling with a patient backlog due to Covid-19 lockdowns.
In addition, the sector is grappling with the legacy of the austerity years, when budget cuts left public dental services in a state of disrepair, with precious little to be expected from the state for free treatment.
“Unlike the medical system, where there are massive government subsidies, that’s not the case in dentistry, even though there’s a livelihood crisis and dentistry isn’t cheap,” says Fintan Hourihan, chief executive of the Dental Association of Ireland.
While fillings and routine extractions are just about affordable, work like orthodontics, implants, and crowns can break many budgets.
A price survey by researchers at Trinity College Dublin found that the national average for a root canal was between €368 for an incisor and €618 for a molar.
A single crown can cost between €800 and €1,000, while an implant with a crown can cost €1,500. If your child needs orthodontics, brace yourself — braces can cost anywhere from $3,500 to $5,500. Prices can vary greatly – not just from one part of the country to another, but even within the same city.
In most practices, you will receive a detailed summary of all necessary treatments in the initial consultation. The total bill can come as a shock at first, but there are a variety of ways to ensure your treatment causes the least amount of financial pain.
your fundamental rights
Under the Dental Treatment Allowance scheme, individuals with sufficient PRSI contributions are entitled to a free examination once a calendar year and an annual weighing and polishing (cleaning) for €15.
The state contributes €42 per person annually to a scale and polish (maximum €15) and periodontal treatment for gum disease, but you have to pay the balance for this treatment. Ask your dentist to verify your entitlement to these services and they will usually deduct them from your bill at checkout.
Choosing a payment method
The type of dental treatment you need will determine your payment method, according to Niall Vallely, a cosmetic dentist and managing director of 3Dental, with clinics in Dublin, Galway and Limerick.
“With implants, this would generally be done over 12 to 24 months, giving the patient a schedule and paying for a certain portion of their treatment over time,” he says.
“Cosmetic patients would sometimes do that too. For orthodontic treatment, where a child might wear braces for a year or two, parents generally pay a 20 percent down payment and then pay the rest of the treatment each month.”
He recommends that patients undergoing major, more complicated procedures, such as a full mouth reconstruction, apply for a credit union loan.
For example, at Claddagh Credit Union in Galway you can get a €4,000 health loan over 30 months at an APR of 6.7 per cent. This means that your monthly repayments would be €144.82 and the total amount you would repay would be €4,344.60.
Payment Plans and Installments
The most sensible way to fund non-routine dental work is to pay for each treatment step with each dentist visit. If you are lucky enough to be able to afford the entire treatment plan upfront, many clinics will offer you a 10 percent discount.
Others offer interest-free monthly payments in exchange for an upfront payment. For example, MyDental at Cherrywood Medical Center in South Dublin offers you an interest-free payment plan to spread the cost of treatments costing more than €2,000 over three, six or nine months.
However, some fintech providers are recognizing that even this can be too taxing for many households and are offering clinics solutions to spread the repayments even further. Dame Street Dental in central Dublin is working with UK fintech GoCardless.com to enable you to set up a direct debit to cover all your treatment costs when the total cost exceeds €1,000.
Humm, which has offered consumer installment plans at retailers in Ireland since the noughties, allows consumers to stagger interest-free payments for dental work under €500 (below which they don’t have to do a tough credit check). Crowd).
If you’re willing to travel a little further, consult private dental practices in the north
You can repay the amount in five two-week or three monthly installments. And some dentists are starting to bite – 3Dental, Smile Hub Dental Clinic at Bayside Medical Center in North Dublin and Lucey Dental & Aesthetics in Greystones all accept payments through Humm.
If your treatment plan costs between €500 and €999, you can pay back through Humm at an interest rate of 3.99 percent over six to 12 months. Amounts between €1,000 and €15,000 can be repaid over two to three years, but the interest rate rises to 7.99 percent.
If you borrow €3,000 through Humm over 36 months at an APR of 12.05 percent, the total amount repayable is €3,548.92.
“The big benefit for (patients) is that no deposit is required, so a patient can just pull up an app and get approval,” says Vallely. “However, they will do checks and there are people who have been turned down for Humm funding and Humm charges the clinic 5 percent. We prefer patients to choose our in-house plans.”
“Gauge insurance is covered by 1% in Ireland and a lot of people don’t know it exists,” says Total Health Cover’s Dermot Goode.
If you already have private health insurance, check whether dental treatment is covered by your policy. Even if this is the case, your plan likely only covers routine dental expenses like fillings and extractions.
Anyone can subscribe to occupational health insurance, which is the country’s lowest-priced insurance plan, and all offer at least a small discount on routine dental care, according to Goode.
“You can also take out a dental plan to supplement your health insurance, and if you don’t have health insurance you can take out a standalone plan, such as a dental plan.
If you do not have health insurance you can take out a health insurance plan with HSF Ireland, a charity with a branch of insurance covering the cost of daily medical expenses and dental allowances.
“You’re always better off, whether you’re joining an insurer or about to make a claim, to call the insurer and tell them everything and they’ll say what’s covered and what’s not,” says Goode.
Consider a trip to Northern Ireland
If you’re willing to travel a little further, contact private dental practices in the north and request a quote, but check with your own dentist first before beginning treatment.
Despite the UK’s exit from the EU, the Gental Dental & Implant Clinic in Warrenpoint said it still receives “a lot” of patients from the Republic and that prices are currently about 60 to 70 per cent cheaper than some clinics in the South. VHI and DeCare Dental also cover treatments up north, and you can reclaim taxes, Goode says.
claim tax reduction
While you can’t claim tax breaks for routine dental work like fillings and simple tooth extractions, a Med 2 form can get you 20 percent back for more expensive work like crowns, root canals, bridges, implants, and orthodontics.
https://www.independent.ie/business/personal-finance/how-to-avoid-opening-your-wallet-too-wide-when-your-teeth-hurt-41924068.html How to avoid opening (your wallet) too wide when your teeth hurt