read

Why do I need dental insurance?

For most people, going to the dentist isn’t exactly the most exciting activity. With so much uncertainty surrounding cavities and unforeseen costs, sometimes it might be easier to skip out altogether. But going to the dentist is actually a crucial component of maintaining optimal health — and enrolling in a dental insurance plan can help with controlling costs, bringing more peace of mind, and making you more aware of the current state of your health. (You’ll be surprised to see your smile can say a lot about your health.)

Dental insurance is a supplemental insurance option offered usually as a separate, standalone plan. Typically, you won’t see dental benefits on a health insurance plan.

If your employer does not offer dental insurance as a benefit, or you’re considering your coverage options — keep reading to learn why you should enroll.

 

Why do you need dental insurance?

Regular brushing and flossing help to keep your pearly whites shining, but regular trips to the dentist are essential for that extra-clean feeling — and to catch problems invisible to the naked eye. (Nope, not even with your fancy LED-lit magnifying mirror.) Without these regular cleanings, bacteria can build, leading to cavities, tooth decay, and even tooth loss. Plus, your dentist can track changes to your teeth, mouth, and gums over time, and detect periodontal disease or receding gums.

Just like your health insurance plan (or even auto insurance!), you’re enrolling in dental coverage to protect your finances and your wellbeing — because dental work can get expensive.

Dental insurance provides you with coverage that can save you money and promote a healthy mouth (which is linked to greater overall health — more on that below). A surprise cavity could set you back over $3001 — but with a dental insurance plan, you’d only have to come up with around $100 out-of-pocket2. This is because dental insurance covers most procedures with a 100-80-50 coverage structure.

Here’s what “100-80-50 coverage” means:

  • Preventative care costs are usually 100% covered, and include procedures like exams, cleanings twice per year, bitewing x-rays, fluoride treatments to age 14, and brush biopsy.

  • Minor care costs are 80% covered, which includes emergency palliative (pain) treatment, radiographs and diagnostic imaging, periodontal cleaning, and other minor restorative services.

 

Major dental care costs are 50% covered, which can be denture and bridge repairs and relines, extractions and dental surgery, root canals, periodontic services, prosthodontic services (like implants and veneers), crown and cast restorations, and other major services.

Like other insurance plans you opt into, you’ll pay a monthly premium, which is the monthly fixed cost for your insurance policy, to get these rates. You’ll also have an annual deductible (or the amount of money you will have to pay out-of-pocket for your dental services before your insurance company gets the bill). There are a few types of dental insurance plans you can choose from, too — like Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs), Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), or indemnity plans. Learn more about these dental plans here.

Not only are the money-saving benefits a big perk of enrolling in dental insurance, but the peace of mind and awareness you have on your overall health can contribute to a longer, healthier life.

 

What is the value of dental insurance?

We’re not looking to point fingers here, but it’s likely you’ve skipped a routine dental visit due to cost — maybe even more than once. Research by the NADP shows that Americans with dental benefits are, well, more likely to go to the dentist. And when you take advantage of your (usually) fully-covered, twice-annual cleanings, you could end up saving even more money in the long run by catching problems early — before they become costly. There are a few great benefits to making your biannual appointment:

  • Your dental hygienist can remove stains (like from your morning coffee habit) that discolor your teeth.

  • Your dentist can detect early stages of oral cancer, signs of broken fillings, and fractures.

  • Do you grind your teeth? Experience jaw or neck pain? Your dentist will assess your bite alignment to see any changes and offer solutions to reduce any pain you’re having.

  • Your dentist can detect signs of other health-related issues, like diabetes or vitamin deficiencies.

  • Let’s be honest — that super-clean feeling is worth mentioning on this list.

 

Plus, a dental plan gives you easy access to care when you need it. For example, a plan from Renaissance Dental (available through Kasasa Care™) gives you access to a network of 300,000 dental offices nationwide, and in-network dentists will file claims and paperwork on your behalf for a stress-free experience. (No wonder it was named one of the top dental insurance providers of 2020!)

On top of saving some extra cash on surprise dental work (it happens to the best of us), dental insurance allows you to take charge of your overall health and wellness with ease — because it’s about so much more than just a brighter smile.

 

How does dental health affect overall health?

You know that poor dental care can lead to cavities. But did you know that other health problems can arise from poor dental care, too? Yes, it’s possible.

This is because your mouth is known as the entry point to your digestive and respiratory tracts. If the bacteria in your mouth is not kept under control with daily brushing, flossing, and all-around good oral hygiene, it can reach levels that lead to infection and gum disease — and affect other systems in the body, too.

Plus, in children, poor oral health can lead to chronic dental pain and cavities, which can be linked to other problems. Some of these include difficulty sleeping and reduced self-esteem.

 

What other conditions can be linked to oral health?

  • Cardiovascular disease: You might be thinking — what’s the connection between my teeth and my heart? Bacteria and inflammation of the gums can enter your bloodstream and travel to your arteries, which can cause atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. This condition can lead to blockages of blood flow through the body, increasing your risk of heart attack or stroke.

  • Dementia: Bacteria can enter the brain through the bloodstream or nerve channels in your head, which can lead to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

  • Respiratory infections: Breathing in bacteria from infected teeth and gums over a long period of time can cause infections in your lungs — even pneumonia.

  • Diabetic complications: Those with diabetes are more susceptible to periodontal disease, making it especially important to maintain proper oral hygiene. Inflammation in your gums can make it harder to control your blood sugar, and could make your diabetes symptoms worse.

 

How can I improve my dental hygiene habits at home?

Aside from your recommended twice-annual cleanings, maintaining your oral health starts with healthy habits at home.

  • Don’t go to bed without brushing your teeth.

  • Brush your teeth in gentle, circular motions to remove plaque. (And don’t forget your tongue!)

  • Floss once per day to stimulate your gums, reduce plaque, and lower inflammation.

  • Drink more water to wash out sticky, sugary, and acidic foods and beverages between brushes.

  • Limit sugary and acidic foods, which can erode the enamel of your teeth over time.

  • If you don’t have an electric toothbrush (which is known to be more effective at removing buildup), use a soft-bristled toothbrush — and try to replace it every three months.

  • Add mouthwash to your routine to kill more bacteria and fight plaque.

 

 

How can I maintain healthy children’s dental health habits at home?

And if you have a family, managing your children’s dental health should be top of mind, too. Cavities are one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood in the United States — but they can be prevented. For children, parents and caregivers can:


  • Brush your children’s teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.

  • Have them drink tap water that contains fluoride.

  • Help your children brush until they develop good brushing skills.

  • Make sure they use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste (and always spit it out, rather than swallow).

  • Serve children nutritious snacks over sweets and sugars.

  • Bring your children to the dentist by their first birthday to spot problems early.

  • Ask your child’s dentist about applying sealants on their back teeth to prevent cavities.

  • Remember to get cleanings twice a year at no cost with qualifying plans.

 

Enrolling in a dental insurance plan is one of the best ways to keep your overall health and wellness in great shape, not to mention reducing your risk of periodontal disease, cavities, and tooth decay. What’s even better? You can enroll in dental insurance at any time during the calendar year — no need to wait for an Open Enrollment period or qualifying event! (But note, some plans might require a waiting period, so don’t hold out until your back molar starts bothering you again.)

Start protecting your finances — and your pearly whites — by checking out your dental coverage options through Kasasa Care here. Your healthiest smile yet is just a few minutes away!

 

 

 

1Based on estimated costs for non-insured consumers: Routine cleanings (2x annually), $300+; Cavity filling, $300+ per tooth; Dental crowns, $1,000+ per tooth.

2Price is for a 40-year old individual in ZIP code 78759 for September 1, 2020 effective date.

Tags: Health, Care, Dental