Are you newly retired? If you don’t have dental coverage as part of your Medicare or retirement benefits, you’ve probably asked yourself, “Do I really need dental insurance?”
The truth is, you need just as much preventative dental care now as you did when you were younger. In fact, maybe more so. Why? Because as you age, your mouth tends to become dry, your older restorations wear out, and your gums recede. All of these variables can significantly raise your risk for tooth decay and loss.
How do you find the right type of dental insurance for your needs, especially as a senior?
Focus on Preventative Care
Most dental problems are preventable. If you’ve always been one to see the dentist regularly, you’re off on the right start. Pick a dental insurance plan that includes routine prophylactic services like:
- Dental cleanings every six months
- Diagnostic dental X-rays
- Yearly exams and gum disease screenings
- Oral cancer exams
By seeing your dentist routinely, you can take advantage of preventative strategies that limit your risk of complications.
How Often Seniors Need to See a Dentist
If you’ve never had dental problems, continue to be proactive about your routine maintenance. Now is more important than ever to prevent unwanted tooth decay. Neglecting to see a dentist after you retire — simply because you’ve always had “good teeth” — could unfortunately put you in a position of needing extensive dental care within just a few years. The best way to keep dental costs down during retirement is to, in fact, keep seeing a dentist on a regular basis. Insurance plans will normally cover a trip to the dentist every six months.
What if You Need Dental Work?
One of the biggest misconceptions by seniors is that if their teeth give them problems, they should just have them all extracted, and a pair of dentures made. While dentures are a viable solution for chronic dental health problems, they shouldn’t be the go-to treatment for a few troublesome teeth.
Choose a dental insurance plan that covers basic restorative and major treatments, such as fillings, crowns, root canals, dental implants, and even periodontal therapy. In most cases, it’s generally “better” for your oral health to preserve your natural teeth; great insurance benefits can help you afford the care you need, especially on a fixed income.
Retirement doesn’t automatically mean trading in your smile for dentures. Thanks to decades of preventative care in modern dental offices, more seniors are keeping their natural teeth for life. It’s more important than ever to keep caring for your teeth and gums. The right type of senior dental insurance can help you do just that.
What if I Need or Already Wear Dentures?
A quality denture should still be evaluated and adjusted by your dentist routinely. As we age, the bone in our mouth changes too. This transformation process can cause a denture that’s already starting to wear out to feel loose or uncomfortable. Eventually, your denture will need to be relined or replaced.
Most insurance plans for seniors will cover annual exams and benefits towards denture costs. That way when you do need to update your appliance, you pay less money out of pocket at your appointment. Maintaining regular coverage is essential even if you don’t have any of your natural teeth!
Affordable Alternatives to Traditional Insurance
Many seniors choose to join Cigna discount dental programs instead of conventional insurance networks. Savings plans such as these allow you to use your discount as often (or infrequently) as needed. Since there are no annual maximums, you’re able to apply the discount to the total cost of every treatment plan.
Plus, discount plan members don’t have to pay deductibles. They’re able to immediately take advantage of the benefits in their program. This feature makes it easy for seniors to fit into their fixed income and budget accordingly.
Like insurance, Cigna discount dental plans can be used at any dental office nationwide that participates in the network. As long as your dentist is a participating provider, you can use your card starting at the first appointment.
Is a discount dental plan right for you? Talk to a Cigna Dental Plans specialist to discuss the differences in each program and find out which type of benefits package is ideal for seniors like you!