15 Ways to Save Money On Dental and Vision Expenses

Taking care of your teeth and eyes is essential for your overall health. But, dental and vision care can get very expensive. Although 92% of Americans had healthcare coverage in 2022, over 50% of the people in the United States say they struggle with affording medical and health expenses.

While still prioritizing your health, there are numerous ways to cut costs without compromising on the quality of care. Here I'll share tips to help you maintain your vision and dental health while keeping your budget intact and easier to manage.

Girl Having Eye Exam at Optometrists Office

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Save On Dental and Vision By Combining Them

Employee or Commercial Plans

Many employee or commercial insurance plans do not cover dental and vision, or they may cover one, but not the other. Check how much you are paying for each service and compare it with prices in your area to be sure it makes sense to pay for that coverage.

For example – when my husband was working, it cost us an additional $22.00 a month to have vision and dental coverage for the three of us. A typical dentist visit is around $100.00 each. Eye exams were about $115.00 and then contact or glasses would be around $130-$200.

So let's the do math:

Insurance cost – $22.00×12 months = $264.00

Dentist visit – 100.00 x 2 times a year = 200.00

Multiplied x 3 for each of us = $600.00

Vision exams – 115.00 x 1 time a year = $115.00

Multiplied x 3 for each of us = $345.00

Brown-framed Eyeglasses

So you can already see, even without adding in the glasses or contacts, the $264.00 we would pay for the year would be a MUCH better savings than having to pay for each of these out of pocket. But coverage and prices change, so it's important to compare each time it's time to renew or you have a life changing event where you qualify for the ability to change coverages.

Private Individual Dental & Vision Discount Plans

Another way to save on medical expenses is to shop around for private dental and vision services. Fortunately, there are dental and vision discount plans that can help you save money on these essential health services.

Dental discount plans work by offering discounted rates on dental services at participating providers. These plans typically require a monthly or annual fee, and you can save anywhere from 10 to 60 percent on dental procedures, including cleanings, fillings, and orthodontics. If you are looking for orthodontic coverage, be sure to check the amount they cover, because many only cover $1,000 of the typically $10-15k bill.

A Person Wearing Blue Latex Gloves Holding a Mirror in a Woman's Mouth

Vision discount plans work similarly, offering discounted rates on eye exams, glasses, and contact lenses at participating providers. These plans can also include discounts on LASIK surgery and other vision correction procedures.

***Pro Tip – However, I've found many of these “discount” plans are the same as a regular coupon you can get free off the internet, so make sure if you're paying for a plan, it's actually something that you can't just get without a monthly fee.

When choosing an individual dental or vision discount plan, it's important to do your research and compare plans to find the best fit for you and the needs of your family. Look for plans that have a wide network of participating providers in your area and offer discounts on the services you need most.

Some popular dental and vision discount plans include:

***Pro Tip – By signing up for a dental or vision discount plan, you could potentially save money on medical expenses, but make sure you understand the specific coverage you are paying for.

Little Girl at the dentist

Save on Dental and Vision with Individual Options

Dental Schools and Optometry Clinics

College students need to practice! They cannot graduate without completing a certain number of sessions with patients. Consider getting dental and vision care from local dental schools or optometry clinics. These facilities often provide services at a lower cost – often free. They are performed by students under the supervision of experienced professionals.

Save On Dental and Vision with Preventative or DIY Care

Maintaining good oral hygeince can help prevent dental issues. Invest in high quality dental care products and follow a strict oral care routine of brushing and flossing twice a day. Additionally you can add in oil pulling, natural toothpaste products and DIY teeth-whitening method.

Explore eye exercises that can improve vision naturally. While not a substitute for professional care, some people find that regular eye exercises can help maintain good vision and can help tired eyes.

Unrecognizable ophthalmologist checking eyesight of woman on vision screener

***Pro Tip – Baking soda is one alternative to whiten your teeth naturally. You can get a box for less than a dollar. If you keep it in your bathroom, you'll have a box just for whitening. It does taste a little funny, but it's a cheap option compared to the cost of professional treatments.

Make it a point to have regular teeth cleanings and dental checkups to help catch any issues before they can escalate into costly issues. Regular eye exams can detect and address issues early on as well. Prevention is often more cost effective than dealing with problems that have compounded.

***Pro Tip – Schedule your eye exams during your birthday month as a reminder of when they are due. If you have multiple people in your family, make a day of it and get everyone's vision exams done at the same time.

Prices for medical procedures and treatments can vary widely between providers, so it's important to do research and compare prices before making a decision. Additionally, some providers may offer discounts or payment plans for uninsured or underinsured patients. By being proactive and seeking out affordable options, individuals can save money on medical and health expenses.

Save On Dental and Vision By Going Local

Barter Services

Offer your skills or services to your dentist or optometrist in exchange for discounted or free care. It could be graphic design, filing, stuffing envelopes, writing articles for a local newspaper or any other service you excel at.

***Pro Tip – This tip would work best on a small privately owned location, as they would have more need for these services. A large chain location would likely not have a need to barter.

Attend Community Health Events

Keep and eye out for local health fairs or community festivals that offer free or discounted vision screenings. Some events may even provide vouchers for eyeglasses or contact lenses.

***Pro Tip – If your child is school age, call the school office and see if they have free vision screenings. Often they only pull students from class if a teacher mentions a child may have trouble seeing the board. By being pro-active, you can have your child's vision checked by a doctor that comes to the school and it will save you an eye exam cost. Of course, if there are any problems noted, you would want to take them to the doctor right away.

Save On Dental and Vision Expenses - Two women with glasses

Save Money On Dental and Vision By Buying Online

Online Prescription Glasses or Contacts

Embrace the digital era by purchasing prescription glasses online. Prices are often lower than in traditional brick-and-mortar stores. There are reputable online retailers that offer quality eyewear at a fraction of the cost. You do have to put in a little bit of work with this option, but you can save significant money. Just follow these steps and you can get glasses for a fraction of the price.

  • First you need to get your vision checked so that you have a prescription. Some places may give you a hassle and not want to give you your prescription because they know you will be purchasing your glasses elsewhere. Your eyeglass prescription is your property as part of your medical information and you have a right to know it.
  • Next, check out a discount glasses website like eyebuydirect and choose the frames you want. They start at $6.00!
  • Then you'll need to give the website the information for your doctor so they can verify your prescription.
  • You'll also need to measure one spot for your glasses. It's called the PD – Pupillary distance – which is the distance between your eyes. They give you a ruler to print out and It takes 2 minutes.
  • Then just check out like you would anywhere else. They verify the info with the doctor and mail you your glasses! Super easy!
  • The same applies if you want to get contacts. I have found that contacts at walmart.com or 1800contacts seem to be the least expensive for me.
Mom and Daughter wearing contacts

***Pro-tip – When I get my vision checked, I always say I want my prescription for glasses and contacts. Then with my insurance, I'll get a 6 month supply of contacts (if covered) instead of glasses. If it only covers glasses, I typically don't get all the extra upgrades on the glasses because I just want to get them as inexpensive as possible.

All the upgrades can make your “free” glasses over $100.00! I get both my contact and glasses prescriptions before I leave. Once home, I'll place an order for the glasses from eyebuydirect, and I've got my eye exam, glasses and contacts for 6 months for about $10.00!

Save Money On Dental and Vision With Loyalty Programs and Group Or Individual Discounts

Loyalty Programs

Many optical stores and online retailers offer loyalty programs or discounts for repeat customers. Take advantage of these perks to save on eyewear and contact lenses.

***Pro Tip – Online only retailer eyebuydirect offers a decent loyalty program. But note, this would be most beneficial for large families, and everything is online. So you would have to decide if this is right for you.

Assorted Sunglasses

Group Discounts

Look for group discounts or family packages for dental and vision care. Many providers offer lower rates when multiple family members or friends sign up together.

Individual Discounts

Many dentists and optometrists offer discounts to seniors, students and veterans. They don't usually advertise these discounts, but they will usually give you an additional 10% off if you ask. You may be required to show paperwork to verify.

Woman Having a Dental Check-up

Save Money On Dental and Vision By Using Your FSA or HSA


A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Saving Account (HSA) can help you save a lot of money by using pre-tax savings accounts for healthcare costs. You can also contribute to an FSA or HSA to save money on dental and vision costs.

***Pro Tip – Check out this post where I talk more in depth and explain the differences between the FSA and HSA to save money on general medical costs.

Man Wearing White Polo Shirt And Eyeglasses

Save Money On Dental and Vision By Traveling For Treatment

Traveling for Treatment

Traveling for treatment is not a typical savings strategy I would recommend. However, if you have a larger expense coming up, it may be wise to check out traveling to areas with lower healthcare costs for dental or vision procedures.

This can include dental tourism, where you can receive high quality care at a lower cost in certain countries. This place in Mexico offers a whole dental tourism package with spa treatements included!

Woman in Purple Scrub Using a Dental Equipment in Examining a Patient

Save Money On Dental and Vision By Asking For A Discount

Before Services

Don't hesitate to negotiate payment plans with your provider. Often times they will tell you if they have a coupon on their website or if they have a special coming up that can save you money.

After Services

If you've already had the appointment, you can always call the billing number on your bill you received and ask for an additional discount. Also, check out this post where I give specific ways you can ask for discounts about general medical care that also apply for dental and vision services.

Boy Standing Near Bookshelf

Save Money On Dental and Vision With Charitable Organizations

Charitable Organizations

Look for organizations that provide dental care assistance. Some nonprofits and community programs offer free or low-cost dental services to those in need.

***Pro Tip – Look for these services throughout the year, so you know if there is a certain time that these organizations hold events each year that you can mark on your calendar to prepare – often times there are limited spots, so be sure to keep track of when you have to call or show up.

Woman With Brown Hair Wearing Eyeglasses

Taking care of your vision and dental health doesn't have to break the bank. Use one or more of these tips to help you prioritize your well-being while keeping an eye on your budget.

***Pro Tip – If you're looking for more help on budgeting, getting rid of debt and having financial security, join my free Facebook group. Also, to help you on your budgeting journey, I've got a free budget workbook that will help you find where your money is going. I believe it can help you so much, I'm giving it to you free! Use the code FACEBOOK GROUP, and get it for free.

Here's to a healthy and cost-effective journey toward optimal vision and dental care!

About the Author:

As a previously homeless, single mom, I am a blogger who is passionate about helping people save money in all areas of their life. I have written about a variety of personal finance topics, including saving money on healthcare, multiple different ways to save money, side gigs to make extra money and much more. I hope that my blog posts can help people both make money and save money while reaching their goals of financial security.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Please consult with your doctor or dentist before making any changes to your healthcare routine. Remember to consult with healthcare professionals before trying any unconventional methods, and ensure that your chosen approach aligns with your health needs and priorities.

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