As important as it is, most health plans, including Medicare, do not provide coverage for most dental services. If you’re not covered under an employer’s group plan, what options are available to you and, more importantly, can you afford them? Let’s take a short look at the importance of dental care and solutions to how to manage those expenses.
Why Dental Care Is Important
Routine oral hygiene is a cornerstone of overall good health for people of all ages but this can be especially true for children and seniors. Consider some of these facts:*
- Children who have poor oral health often miss more school and receive lower grades than children who don’t.
- More than half of children aged 6 to 8 have had a cavity in at least one of their baby (primary) teeth.
- More than half of adolescents aged 12 to 19 have had a cavity in at least one of their permanent teeth.
- Children aged 5 to 19 years from low-income families are twice as likely (25%) to have cavities, compared with children from higher-income households (11%).
- More than 1 in 4 (26%) adults in the United States have untreated tooth decay.
- Nearly half (46%) of all adults aged 30 years or older show signs of gum disease; severe gum disease affects about 9% of adults.
- Having a chronic disease, such as arthritis, heart disease or stroke, diabetes, emphysema, hepatitis C, a liver condition, or being obese may increase an individual’s risk of having missing teeth and poor oral health.
- Nearly all adults (96%) aged 65 years or older have had a cavity; 1 in 5 have untreated tooth decay.
- A high percentage of older adults have gum disease. About 2 in 3 (68%) adults aged 65 years or older have gum disease.
- Nearly 1 in 5 of adults aged 65 or older have lost all of their teeth. Complete tooth loss is twice as prevalent among adults aged 75 and older (26%) compared with adults aged 65-74 (13%). Having missing teeth or wearing dentures can also affect nutrition.
What Benefits Can I Expect From Dental Insurance
Dental insurance plans will vary in the types of benefits covered and monthly premiums. Most plans will cover basic routine care (cleanings and exams) on a yearly basis with no waiting period. Some may cover more extensive procedures like oral surgery or orthodontia with a waiting period and lifetime maximum. Based on your individual needs and budget, you can expect to find plans that provide for:
- Preventive Care: exams, cleanings, x-rays. Usually covered with no waiting period
- Basic Care: fillings, simple extractions
- Major Care: oral surgery, root canals, periodontics, crowns, bridges, implants & dentures
Many dental plans offer additional benefits to provide for vision care such as an exam and benefits for glasses and contact lenses. Some even offer benefits for hearing exams and hearing aids!
But Can I Afford The Premiums?
Dental insurance can be surprisingly affordable for even the tightest of budgets. Considering the cost of avoiding routine dental care until minor issues turn into major expensive problems, a dental insurance plan could be one of the smartest investments to make!
Need Help Selecting The Right Plan?
Savers Health represents a multitude of health insurance plans for individuals and families including Dental Insurance options. Let’s discuss your specific needs and budget considerations so we can find a great plan just for you!