Investing In Your Oral Health: A Closer Look At Dental Insurance

Oral health is often overlooked for more ‘practical’ health insurance options. However, dental health can significantly impact your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. That’s why it’s important to have dental insurance. 

Before you settle on a dental plan, let’s explore your options, including the types of dental assistance available, the benefits of investing in oral hygiene, and what costs and cover to choose based on your needs. 

Exploring Your Options: Different Types Of Dental Insurance

Dental insurance is usually separate from health insurance plans, having its own set of regulations regarding expenses, deductibles, maximums, and more. 

It functions similarly to health insurance but is designed to cover dental and gum-related issues specifically. You have the flexibility to select a plan and level of coverage, both of which directly influence the cost.

You will need to pay a monthly premium for your dental insurance, which determines your access to benefits and the extent of expenses you may need to cover out of your own pocket.

Types Of Dental Insurance

These are the common types of dental insurance: 

  • Preventative Dental Care includes routine dentistry, like cleaning treatments and checkups. Most dental insurance works on a preventive framework, so most dental health insurance plans cover all preventative care. Cheaper, bare-bones dental insurance would cover only preventative and basic dental care. 
  • Basic Dental Care includes more hands-on dental procedures like tooth extractions and cavity fillings. This is still considered routine work and is often covered by most affordable dental insurance plans. 
  • Major Dental Care is where you start to pay more for dental insurance or higher out-of-pocket costs. This is because major dental care includes crowns, bridges, root canals, implants, and dentures. These procedures require more robust work and equipment, translating into higher monthly premiums.  

The names and coverage for these types of dental insurance can differ slightly from insurance provider to provider. However, it should follow a similar theme – especially preventative care. Preventative care is the most used service in the dental health industry, and your provider should offer comprehensive preventive measures. 

Beyond the above options, you’ll also find cover for major dental emergencies and orthodontist treatments. Common treatments include emergency oral surgery, braces, and other teeth alignment treatments. 

These orthodontic treatments are often offered as an extra, with a higher co-pay. Your premium will also change depending on what equipment use falls under your insurance plan. 

Dental Insurance Costs That Might Not Be Covered

Common procedures not covered by dental insurance include:

  • Teeth whitening or other cosmetic procedures. 
  • Braces
  • Composite or tooth-colored fillings
  • Treatment for pre-existing dental issues

Whichever dental health insurance you choose will have a summary that discusses all the services covered by the insurance. You must thoroughly examine this summary to catch which procedures aren’t covered by your dental insurance. 

If it’s not covered, you’ll have to pay for these procedures with your own money.  

The Advantages Of Dental Insurance

Dental health is often overlooked, resulting in invasive procedures that could have been prevented with preventative care. To fully understand why dental insurance is so important, let’s take a look at all the advantages of dental insurance. 

Financial Assistance

The advantages of having dental health insurance cannot be overstated. The cost of a dentist visit without insurance depends on the service you need. A routine exam can cost  $100-$175. When this appointment includes a tooth filling, the price can reach $400 or more. This also only covers primary dental visits, not major procedures like extractions, bridges, crowns, etc. 

For an affordable monthly premium, you can care for your teeth consistently without struggling with significant, unexpected expenses. 

Your teeth will always need care, whether you have insurance or not. Preparing for when your teeth need care will offer you financial cover and peace of mind like never before. 

Preventative Care

We’ve all heard the adage, “Prevention is better than cure.” Nowhere is that more true than teeth. Teeth can’t repair themselves, which means all damage is permanent if not appropriately managed. 

The only way to prevent permanent damage is to practice preventative measures, which can be expensive – unless you have dental insurance. 

Managing your dental health consistently with dental insurance is the only way to ensure healthy and strong teeth into your senior years. 

Better Overall Health

When we picture dental health, we picture solid, healthy-looking teeth and a great smile. These are, of course, part and parcel of healthy gums and teeth. 

However, healthy teeth and gums are more than aesthetics. 

Human bodies are intimately connected, and your teeth are part of the system. 

Bad teeth have been linked to increased inflammation, coronary heart disease, and lower glycemic control for people with diabetes. Pregnant women also have higher bacterial growth in their bodies, which can cause severe tooth decay. 

Bad dental health can also compromise the immune system, which is especially dangerous in older or immuno-compromised people. 

You actively work on your overall physical health by practicing preventative measures and keeping your teeth and gums healthy. 

Lastly, healthy teeth increase our confidence and social standing, which greatly affects our mental and emotional well-being.

Understanding The Costs Of Dental Insurance

Understanding the cost of dental insurance can be a bit perplexing, but let’s break it down to make it clearer. 

Firstly, premiums can differ depending on the dental network you choose. The type of dental insurance plan you select, whether it’s a basic or major coverage plan, will also impact your monthly premium. In general, most insurance companies follow a similar pricing structure. Plans with limited coverage tend to be more budget-friendly. 

Dental insurance will usually fully cover routine and preventative procedures, which are typically less expensive. On the other hand, more extensive and costly treatments will require you to pay higher copayments. 

If you’re seeking a dental policy that covers a broader range of procedures, it’s common to have a higher monthly premium. This increased premium reflects the greater level of services and treatments that your insurance plan will support, giving you more comprehensive coverage for your dental health.

Dentistry Network 

The dental insurance company will have a network of dentists for you to choose from. When you go to an in-network dentist, you’ll be covered entirely or have smaller coinsurance fees. 

Going out of the network will cost more. Some insurance might even charge you the total amount of the dental service. 

The size of the network will differ among insurance providers. If the network is more extensive (which can benefit you and allow you to find a dentist that suits your needs), the insurance provider will likely have a larger monthly premium. 

Dental Plan Fees

Dental insurance plans also have fees and stipulations like standard health insurance plans. Here are three to keep in mind when comparing dental insurance fees:

  • Coinsurance/ Copay Fees: Dental insurance has coinsurance and copay fees similar to health insurance. While the fees differ across networks, dental insurance follows a similar cover formula. For example, your insurance might cover preventative dental care fully but only cover 60% of major care costs. 
  • Deductibles: The deductible is the amount you must pay before your dental insurance company covers dental fees. Amounts will differ from network to network. 
  • Yearly Maximums: This is the maximum amount the dental insurance will pay in a year. Once you use more than the maximum, you must pay your dental fees without insurance assistance. Comprehensive and expensive dental insurance typically has much larger maximums to cover costly dental procedures. 

Selecting The Right Dental Insurance Plan

Now that you know more about dental insurance plans and their associated jargon and costs, it’s time to select the right dental insurance plan for your unique needs. 

1. Consider Your Budget 

First, consider your budget. Whether you are a big family or a young single professional, your budget allowance for dental insurance will be different. Consider what amount you could comfortably add to your monthly budget for a dental insurance plan. 

Most dental insurance plans offer tiers that make dental care more accessible. If you can’t afford a hefty monthly premium, look for a lower premium option or more basic care. 

Health insurance experts like Enhance Health can also help you find affordable dental insurance options that suit any budget. 

2. Consider Your Needs

Your dental insurance requirements are shaped by your individual circumstances. For instance, if you’re part of a family, your dental coverage should extend to include yourself, your spouse, and your children. This means that maximum coverage and overall benefits may need to be at higher levels to adequately meet your family’s needs.

On the other hand, if you’re an individual or currently unemployed, your dental needs will naturally differ. Additionally, seniors and children often require more preventive care compared to adults, so these factors should be taken into account when choosing a plan.

To make an informed decision, you need to carefully consider how many individuals you need coverage for and take into consideration any common dental issues that you or your family members may commonly encounter. 

This way, you can tailor your dental insurance to align with your specific needs and ensure you’re adequately protected.

3. Get Dental Insurance Quotes

Next, get quotes from insurance companies that cover your needs and accommodate your budget. Working with a health and dental insurance representative like Enhance Health can simplify the process. 

4. Compare Dental Plans And Costs

Compare the quotes, dental plans, and associated costs, and choose the option that provides the most coverage, a robust network, and stays within your budget. 

Conclusion

Dental health insurance is often overlooked when considering healthcare essentials, even though healthy teeth and gums have been linked to better mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Tooth damage is also permanent, so access to preventative treatments is necessary for anyone hoping to have strong teeth into their senior years. 

Fortunately, there are affordable dental care options. Use this guide to navigate dental health insurance plans and find the dental insurance that fits your needs like a glove. 

Invest in your oral health with Enhance Health. Regardless of your budget or needs, our health insurance experts will guide you to the best coverage and premium. Find the right plan today! 

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