Dental Plans to Fit Your Needs

Dental plans that cover all phases of clinical dentistry are a cornerstone of most patients' medical insurance, and cover the cost of oral care on an annual basis. Here are some considerations to keep in mind when purchasing dental coverage.

Where Can I Get a Dental Plan That Meets My Needs?

If your employer has given you a dental plan as part of your benefits package, you can typically opt in or out of the chosen company policy. Most plans cover select procedures and allow for a maximum amount of annual reimbursement and stipulate a shared cost (copayment) at each appointment. You can also purchase plans through worker's unions, professional organizations or clubs such as the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). Some even allow you to include family members in the plan for an extra price.

If you're purchasing your dental coverage via a health exchange in your home state, keep in mind that some medical plans that include dental only cover dependents, says BenefitsPro. If this is the case, you may have to purchase a standalone dental plan.

What's Covered Under the Typical Dental Plan?

According to the National Association of Dental Plans, most dental plans cover 100 percent of preventive dental procedures, such as exams, cleanings and X-rays. Basic restorative procedures – including fillings, root canals and extractions – are a little more costly. Depending on the type of plan you choose, you may be reimbursed for up to 80 percent to the procedure cost or offered a reduced rate. More extensive restorative procedures like crowns, orthodontia or fixed and removable bridges are more costly, and your insurance can cover up to 50 percent of your dental bill. You should check the fine print of your dental policy to see exactly how they cover different procedures.

What Can I Expect to Pay Out of Pocket?

These costs vary greatly, depending on your dental insurance premium, you or your employers monthly contributions and the details of your dental policy coverage. Many inexpensive plans can run as low as a few dollars per month, while more extensive plans or group plans can have annual costs of hundreds of dollars. If your employer is covering the cost of your dental care, you may have to pay out of pocket for family members.

Do Most Dentist or Specialists Take Dental Coverage?

When you sign up for dental insurance coverage, the insurance company can provide you with a list of providers in their network. Some dental specialists are part of the same network as your general dentist and will be able to accept the same insurance plan. But other specialists can be considered out-of-network, so the procedures they offer are may not be covered or at different rates.

Dental insurance coverage is helpful to patients to receive optimum dental care, and is a means to help pay for the dental care that you need. If you need any more information on dental insurance and how it works, explore the National Association of Dental Plans, and be sure to read the dental plan fine print as you shop.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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Common Conditions During ADULTHOOD

As we get older, dental care for adults is crucial. Here are a few of the conditions to be aware of:

Gum disease – if your home care routine of brushing and flossing has slipped and you have skipped your regular dental cleanings, bacterial plaque and tartar can build up on your teeth. The plaque and tartar, if left untreated, may eventually cause irreparable damage to your jawbone and support structures, and could lead to tooth loss.

Oral cancer – according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, men over the age of 40 have the greatest risk for oral cancer. About approximately 43,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer of the mouth, tongue or throat area, and the ACS estimates that about 7,000 people will die from these cancers. The use of tobacco products and alcohol increases the risk of oral cancer. Most oral cancers are first diagnosed by the dentist during a routine checkup.

Dental fillings break down – fillings have a life expectancy of eight to 10 years. However, they can last 20 years or longer. When the fillings in your mouth start to break down, food and bacteria can get underneath them and can cause decay deep in the tooth.