Posted February 22, 2016
Nearly 75 percent of American adults have some form of gum disease, but don’t know it, reports the American Dental Hygienists Association. Scheduling regular appointments for dental checkups and professional cleanings can help take care of oral health problems and identify signs of potential medical issues. People with dental insurance tend to use their benefits, but some may wonder whether it’s worth the investment.
Consider these four reasons why it is:
1. Reduce lost work hours – The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that each year employees lose 164 million hours due to dental problems. When employees are not at work, businesses struggle with productivity and meet customer expectations.
2. Control costs – Many people put off going to the dentist due to financial concerns. However, spending on dental care is expected to increase 58 percent annually, from $101.9 billion to $161.4 billion through 2018, reports the Pew Center on the States.
- Dental insurance helps cover dental care costs with many plans featuring 100-80-50 coverage (minus applicable deductibles):
- 100 percent for routine preventive and diagnostic care, such as checkups and cleanings.
- 80 percent for fillings, root canals and other basic procedures.
- 50 percent for crowns, bridges and major procedures.
3. Check overall health – During an exam, dentists check for oral health issues and also review patients’ overall health. Detecting health problems at an early stage can help control medical costs.
- About 90 percent of all systemic diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis, have oral health symptoms, reports the Academy of General Dentistry.
4. Enhance children’s school performance – Approximately 20 percent of a child’s health care expenses are for dental costs, reports the Pew Center on the States.
- Tooth decay is the most common and preventable disease. However, it’s five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever, according to the Academy of General Dentistry.
- About one in five children under age 18 do not receive dental care each year.
- Children with oral health problems struggle to concentrate and learn in school. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, children lose more than 51 million school hours because of dental problems.
Find out which type of dental insurance is right for you. For starters, review the following example of high/low coverage.
Jane goes to the dentist for her two annual checkups. Unfortunately, she needs one filling and one root canal throughout the year. With both the high and low plans, Jane has a $10 deductible for Type 1/Preventive procedures. Her preventive visits are covered in full through the dental insurance after the $10 deductible. The filling is a Type 2/Basic procedure and is covered, after a $50 deductible, at 80% under the high plan and 60% under the low plan. The root canal is a Type 3/Major procedure, which also has a $50 deductible on both plans. Type 3 procedures are covered at 50% on the high plan and 40% on the low plan.
This comparison shows the differences between high and low plans on each level of service. If you generally have good oral health and require minimal dental procedures, you might consider the low plan. However, if you anticipate multiple dental procedures, or have a child in need of orthodontia treatment, you might consider the high option.