Regular dental visits are an important part of good oral health. Twice-a-year dental appointments allow a dentist to examine your teeth and prevent major problems from developing. Plus, preventing dental problems early is often significantly cheaper than fixing them later.
But cost is a still a major concern. Looking for a way to lower your dental bills? Let’s take a look at what options are available, as well as five reasons you should consider investing in dental coverage:
Dental Coverage Explained
First, let’s take a quick look at the two main types of dental coverage: dental insurance and dental savings plans.
Dental insurance helps make many dental procedures more affordable, but it can also be complicated and confusing to navigate. If you have dental insurance, you’ll often have to pay a deductible before insurance covers the rest. Plus, dental insurance will have an annual maximum for payouts. Many pre-existing procedures are not covered by dental insurance.
Dental savings plans are an affordable alternative to dental insurance. Also called a dental discount plan, they act like a membership club for dental savings. Members have access to discounts within a network of over 100,000 dental professionals. By presenting your discount card at a participating dentist’s office, you’re eligible for instant savings of 15% and 50% on a huge selection of different dental procedures.
Whether you have dental insurance, a discount plan or even both, here are five benefits of dental coverage:
1. Cosmetic Benefits
Everybody wants – and deserves — a beautiful smile. White, straight teeth can help boost your confidence. If you’re not happy with the current state of your smile, a dentist can help.
Dental insurance typically provides full coverage for check-ups and many other preventative services. Routine cleanings can help remove stains, plaque, and otherwise help your teeth look bright and healthy. However, most dental insurance does not cover purely cosmetic procedures.
Many dental discount plans include savings on a variety of cosmetic procedures including tooth whitening, braces, invisalign and more. In most cases, cosmetic procedures performed by a dentist are safer and have better results than over-the-counter products.
2. Treat Dental Problems You Can’t See
Brushing, flossing and other at-home care is a valuable part of having a healthy mouth. Unfortunately, there’s a limit to what dental problems can be prevented without the help of a dental professional.
Regular check-ups at the dentist’s office will be able to detect problems invisible to the naked eye. X-rays allow the dentist to detect potential cavities and other decay. Plus, your dentist will be able to track changes to your teeth and mouth over time. For example, gums recede slowly. While you won’t be able to notice changes in the mirror, your dentist can use regular measurements to detect potential periodontal disease.
Dental insurance policies and dental discount plans both help you save on regular check-ups. Many dental insurance plans cover 100% of check-ups and other preventative services. Some people use their dental insurance for preventative services and then use a dental discount card to save on any procedures not covered by insurance.
3. Improve Overall Health
Both health and car insurance are legally required. Because dental insurance is optional, many people skip it in order to save money. But your oral health acts as a window into the health of your entire body. Regular visits to the dentist can help identify serious health problems.
For instance, gum disease and fractured teeth can indicate potential heart problems. Other health problems your dentist might be able to detect include diabetes, osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s disease. Dental coverage can often save you money by helping to detect health problems early.
4. Peace of Mind for Dental Emergencies
Dental emergencies can occur at any time. Unfortunately, this means you might be hit with an unexpected expense. Both dental insurance and dental discount plans can help cover costs related to emergency dental care.
If you’re faced with sudden tooth loss, jaw pain or a severe toothache, dental coverage can provide peace of mind. Note that any dental emergency caused by a pre-existing condition might not be covered by dental insurance. Dental discount plans do cover conditions you had before purchasing a membership.
5. Dental Savings
Dental coverage can help you save big at the dentist’s office. But you want to make sure the finances work for your needs. Dental insurance only covers procedures after you’ve paid your deductible. For check-ups and other relatively simple issues, dental insurance usually covers all or at least most of the procedures. However, major procedures are often only covered at 50%. Plus, dental insurance policies have an annual maximum.
Dental discount plans have an annual fee but no limits on the number of discounts you can use each year. Many major procedures such as root canals, dentures and braces can be eligible for discounts.
Paying out-of-pocket for all of your dental needs can quickly become expensive. As dental costs increase, you’ll become less likely to visit the dentist on a regular basis. Both dental insurance and dental discount plans help lower costs at the dentist’s office.
Dental coverage is a great way to keep dental care affordable and accessible. Small costs up-front can lead to major health benefits.