Dental Insurance

Although kinder, gentler technology has taken some of the fear out of visiting the dentist, access to dental benefits can be challenging. You might want to join a dental plan if you've had a rough dental history or if you know you'll need a lot of dental treatment in the near future.

The differences between Dental Insurance and Dental Discount plans can be confusing. With Dental Insurance, you pay premiums and your plan has annual spending caps. It generally covers 100% of the cost of preventive services after you meet your deductible.

Dental Discount plans are not insurance, but programs that offer members discounts (usually around 30%) on a variety of dental services, including cosmetic procedures that most Dental insurance plans exclude. They're similar to "diner's clubs," in which you buy a book of coupons and get a discount on your meals at participating restaurants. Dental Discount plans charge an enrollment fee, plus a monthly fee.

People buy Dental insurance for a variety of reasons. Here are three of the most common reasons.

To Pay for Costly Care. Dental care can be a simple cleaning and x-rays. Or, it can involve costly care from orthodontics (braces) to crowns and oral surgery. Dental insurance generally pays all or a percentage of the charges related to your dental care.

To Maintain a Healthy Mouth. Studies show that regular dental check-ups and cleanings help maintain a healthy mouth. That's why most insurance plans pay 100% for check-ups every six (6) months. Some will even cover (pay for) a check-up immediately after you are approved for coverage.

To Protect Their Children. From cavities to braces, younger family members will benefit from regular professional dental care. Dental insurance can be a very affordable way to protect against the cost of regular check-ups. Your plan might even pay for more costly care — even braces.

There are many forms of insurance. Some, like Car insurance, only provide a benefit to the few people who have a costly accident. Some, like Life insurance, typically don't provide a benefit for many years. Some, like Medical or Health insurance, provide immediate benefits, but can be very costly.

Dental insurance is rather unique. First, its low cost makes it highly affordable for individuals and families. Second, because Dental insurance encourages and generally pays for regular check-ups, many people who purchase protection start to benefit immediately.

Finally, the price of maintaining a healthy mouth can cost hundreds, even thousands of dollars. Should you ever need costly care, from fillings and crowns to periodontics and orthodontics, your Dental insurance will be there to provide benefits when needed.

So, if you buy Dental insurance, you will probably use it. And, like millions of Americans who have protection, you'll probably be glad you did.
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Bumper Stickers

10. Dentists have full-filling careers.

9. A good dentist makes a good impression.

8. Dentists put teeth into their work.

7. A great dentist never gets on your nerves.

6. A toothache can drive you to extraction.

5. Be true to your teeth and they won't be false to you.

4. A dentist is the boss of floss!

3. Dentists help you put your money where your mouth is.

2. Dentists get to the root of the problem.

1. Best time to go to the dentist? Tooth-hurty.

Resources

The American Dental Association
The American Association of Endodontists
Academy of General Dentistry

Dental Q&A

Q: At what age should I start brushing my child's teeth?
A:
As soon as the first tooth can be seen, it can be cleaned. As the first teeth emerge, sometimes it's easier to clean the mouth with a damp cloth. As more teeth grow in, switch to a small, soft bristled brush.

Q: Which brand of toothbrush is best to buy?
A:
In a startling approximation of humor, dentists insist that the best toothbrush on the market is the one you use regularly. In short, brush regularly with any brand of toothbrush and you'll go a long way to maintaining a healthy smile. Three brushing tips to remember:

Spend 2 to 3 minutes brushing teeth two times a day. Use a slow circular motion, angling the head of the brush at 45 degrees so that the bristles sweep beneath the gumline. Use brushes with compact heads and soft bristles.

Q: When should wisdom teeth be removed?
A:
The third and last set of molars — commonly referred to as "wisdom teeth" — grow in between the ages of 18 and 25 (theoretically when wisdom is attained.) While some people don't have problems with their wisdom teeth, many experience discomfort when this last series of teeth crowd the back of the mouth. Here are some signs that your wisdom teeth may need to be removed:
  • Dull or acute pain in jaw area
  • Inflamed mouth issue, which could mean infection
  • Facial swelling
  • Puffiness around the molar gum area
Many dentists and orthodontists recommend removing wisdom teeth when the roots are nearly fully formed, or three-fourths developed, usually in the adolescent years. This early removal strategy may help to eliminate problems, such as an impacted tooth that destroys the second molar.