What to Know Before You Buy Dental Insurance

May 7th 2016

Why You Should Get Dental Insurance Coverage

After health insurance, dental insurance is one of the most important financial and healthcare decisions you will make. Having dental insurance ensures regular check ups to help you avoid costly surgeries and provides a substantial amount of savings in the event that you need serious surgery or other dental work done.

With dental insurance, you'll be able to book regular six-month checkups and any procedures that are deemed necessary as a result of those checkups. Regular visits to the dentist can be significantly beneficial for your health. By catching cavities or other problems early, you can save significant expenses and pain that would result if problems were allowed to fester for months or years.

One less common but even more important benefit of dental insurance that going to the dentist can literally save your life. Often, oral diseases can be indicative of or even be the cause of far more serious diseases in the body. Many studies indicate that the risk of high blood pressure, stroke and even cancer can all be substantially reduced by regularly visiting the dentist.

How to Get Dental Insurance Coverage the Right Way

The next step is to determine the best way to obtain dental insurance. This will be different for everyone, depending on your personal circumstances and what you can afford.

There are three primary types of procedures covered by dental insurance. Various dental insurance plans will cover each of these in varying amounts. It is imperative that you choose a plan within your price range that will provide coverage of the types of procedures you think will most likely be necessary. The three types of procedures are:

  • Major – Major procedures are necessary when there is substantial and irreversible damage to your teeth or another part of the mouth. Some of the most common procedures that fall into this category are dentures, bridges and crowns. Crowns are partial replacements of a tooth, while dentures are a compete and removable replacement for your set of teeth. These procedures tend to be very expensive, and many lower-deductible dental insurance plans will only cover a small portion of their cost. If you expect to have any need for these procedures in the near future, be sure to find an insurance plan that will cover as much of the procedure as possible.
  • Basic – Basic procedures are typically used to repair problems that are caught in their early stages. Cavity fillings are one of the most common examples of a basic procedure, and sometimes, even a tooth extraction falls under this category. Root canals fall somewhere in between a basic and a major procedure. If you think there is a reasonable chance you will need a root canal in the near future, try to pick a dental insurance plan that covers as much of this procedure as possible.
  • Preventative – This is the ideal type of procedure to have when visiting the dentist. Preventative procedures are used to minimize the risk of basic or major procedures being necessary. Preventative procedures typically include X-rays, fluoride and regular cleanings of the mouth. Almost every dental insurance plan will cover at least some of your preventative procedures. However, some lower-cost plans might have a high upfront deductible.

Another important concern when choosing a dental insurance plan is finding one that considers your preferred dentist “in network.” In network essentially means that you will not be paying an “out of network” premium for your dentist. Almost all dentists are in network with at least one major insurance company, so be sure to do your research ahead of time and pick a dental insurance plan that will allow you to go to the dentist of your choice.

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