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Dental Insurance

Don't forget about Dental Insurance!
While a lot of people think about health insurance and what type of coverage the policy has regarding covering costs for serious medical condition treatments or accidents, dental insurance tends to be overlooked. Dental disease is more common than one may think. This is why getting a good dental insurance is essential for you and your mouth.

Medical Disease and Dental Disease Differences
Unlike most medical disease, which sometimes are both unpredictable and catastrophic, most dental ailments are preventable if spotted before the ailment gets too bad. Getting preventive care, which includes regular checkups and cleanings, is the key to maintaining your oral health. Make sure you make a visit to the dentist at least once every 12-18 months. I can speak from personal experience that not going to the dentist can actually worsen a situtation. What was just a regular cavity turned into infected nerve which led to a root canal. Trust me, you don't want to go through that if possible.

With regular visits to the dentist, most teeth problems can be diagnosed and discovered early, giving time to have it treated without extensive testing or elaborate and expensive procedures. That helps keep the costs of dental care much lower than of medical care. Total spending for dental care is decreasing. In 1970, it made up 6.31 percent of total health care expenditures. But in 1991, dental care's share of health care spending was only 4.91 percent.

Difference Between Medical And Dental Benefits
Medical insurance is designed primarily to cover the costs of diagnosing, treating and curing serious illnesses. This process may involve a primary care physician and multiple specialists, a variety of tests performed by doctors and laboratories, multiple procedures and masses of medications. Depending on the health, age and attitudes of people in the medical coverage group, costs can fluctuate widely.

Dental insurance works differently. Today, most dental coverage is designed to ensure that the patient receives regular preventive care. For example, most dental insurance plans will cover almost all x-rays and routine visits. You might have to pay a co-pay for each visit though. The bottom line is that health insurance companies realize that giving better preventive care coverage can save consumers and the insurance company money. High quality dental care rarely requires the complex, multiple resources often required by medical care. A thorough examination by the dentist and a set of x-rays are all it usually takes to diagnose a problem. Most of the time, dental care is provided by a general practitioner, although some cases may require the services of a dental specialist. For example, if you have a wisdom tooth that your general dentist cannot extract, he or she might refer you to a specialist. Because most dental disease is very preventable, dental benefits plans are structured to encourage patients to get the regular, routine care so vital to preventing and diagnosing the onset of serious disease, as mentioned before.

In fact, today most dental benefits plans require patients to assume a greater portion of the costs for treatment of dental disease than for preventive procedures. By placing an emphasis on prevention, and by covering regular teeth cleaning and check-ups, Americans saved nearly $99 billion in dental care costs during the period between 1980 to 1990.

Dental Insurance Is Helping Keep America Healthy
The availability of dental insurance is the single greatest factor in helping you get the dental care you need. More than 48 percent of all Americans--113 million of us--are covered by privately financed dental insurance plans. Most companies today offer some sort of health insurance that includes dental insurance. This compares with just 12 million people who had such coverage in 1970. As a result of increased access to regular care and the widespread use of preventive measures, the incidence of dental decay has dropped sharply. Half of today's school children never have had a cavity.

Different Plans for Different Needs--Know the Differences
Consumers can choose from an assortment of dental benefits plans that accommodate a variety of needs and expectations. The following factors differentiate one plan from another:

  • 1. the type of third party responsible for funding and administration of the plan;
  • 2. the alternatives offered for selecting a dentist;
  • 3. the structure used to compensate the dentist for services provided; and
  • 4. the method by which benefits and payments are calculated.

    Understanding these differences is essential to making an informed decision when selecting a plan and using the benefits.

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