60 Second Savings: Take a Bite Out of Your Dentist Bill

Here's how to save money on your next dental visit.
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Ever feel like a trip to the dentist is like a trip to the car mechanic?

You plan for a simple cleaning only to discover you have eight cavities and need a root canal -- not to mention your dentist is pushing you to buy the latest electric toothbrush.

Before you get slapped with an enormous bill, know there are ways to lower your dental costs. It largely begins with being vocal about your budget.

Be upfront with your dentist and inquire about cheaper alternatives for treatments. Don't assume you have to get that porcelain crown, which can easily run $900. While it may not be pretty or as durable, a simple metal filling can cost a third of the price.

The next tip is if you are getting a lot of work done -- like on those eight cavities -- try to spread out the appointments over two years. That way, you can avoid one huge payment that might exceed your dental plan's maximum annual credit.

If you feel like your dentist's fees are too high, look into university-run dental schools, where students work under faculty supervision. Visits often cost less, in some cases by as much as 40%.

Because the students are not as experienced as credentialed dentists, this may be safer route for routine cleanings as opposed to more extensive procedures, like a root canal or braces. You can check out the American Dental Association for a list of dental schools at


Finally, it may sound elementary, but remember to brush your teeth and floss twice a day. A study found that every dollar spent on preventative care can later save you up to $50 for restoring your teeth.

To view Farnoosh Torabi's video take of today's segment, click here.

Farnoosh Torabi joined TheStreet.com TV in July 2006 as the site's first official video correspondent. Previously, Farnoosh was a business producer and on-air reporter for NY1 News, Time Warner's 24-hour news channel in New York City. Farnoosh is a regular columnist for AM New York and has written for Money, Time, New York Daily News and Newsday. Farnoosh is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University, with a degree in Finance and International Business and holds a M.A. from the Columbia School of Journalism.