Most dental insurance plans cover preventive care such as exams, cleanings, X-rays and sealants from in-network providers. These routine visits help keep costs down and prevent serious issues down the road.
Dental insurance typically covers 80% of basic procedures like fillings and 50% of major services such as crowns. However, insurance coverage comes with deductibles and annual maximums.
The health of your teeth and gums is a crucial part of your overall well-being. It’s a direct indicator of your general health and can help identify serious conditions such as heart disease or diabetes. That’s why it’s important to start and maintain a proper oral hygiene routine early in life to prevent dental diseases such as tooth decay and gum disease.
Regular brushing and flossing can help remove the buildup of bacteria that can lead to plaque, gingivitis and gum disease. However, the best way to keep your teeth and gums healthy is to visit a dentist for professional cleaning and checkups at least twice a year.
Along with brushing and flossing, avoiding sugary snacks and drinks, eating a balanced diet and replacing your toothbrush every three months are all important aspects of a healthy smile. In addition, practicing a consistent oral hygiene routine can reduce the number of visits to the dentist and cut down on your dental cost by preventing costly procedures. Lastly, be sure to avoid tobacco products. Smoking can stain your teeth and increase the risk of gum disease and oral cancer.
As part of preventative dental care, dentists routinely inspect patients’ teeth and gums to catch problems before they become more serious. This is the primary reason why people who regularly attend dental checkups tend to have less of a need for invasive and expensive treatments like root canals and crowns.
Routine checkups allow dentists to examine the mouth, neck, and head for signs of disease or other issues that may not be visible to a patient. Besides checking for plaque and tartar, they will also conduct x-rays of the mouth to spot issues like impacted teeth or abscesses. During these visits, patients should expect their dentist to also offer oral health advice and recommend changes to their lifestyles or habits.
Brushing and flossing are great at removing plaque and tartar, but they are not able to clear as much as a professional cleaning. Getting rid of excess plaque and tartar reduces the risk of cavities, gingivitis, and more serious dental issues. In addition to saving money on costly treatments, the sooner an issue is caught, the easier it is to treat and less likely to spread.
Most medical plans don’t include dental work, so many people purchase a separate dental insurance plan. These plans operate similarly to medical insurance with deductibles, copayments and annual maximums.
Typical dental treatment costs can be expensive, and out-of-pocket expenses can add up quickly. A standard cleaning from a hygienist can cost up to $127, while fillings typically range from $90-$250 per surface (composite). More complicated treatments like root canals or crowns can be upwards of $2,000.
While some dental work is covered by Medicare as part of surgery to treat underlying health conditions, such as jawbone fractures, gum disease and facial injuries, it doesn’t cover routine care or restorative procedures. This can be an important deterrent for many people, especially if they have to pay out-of-pocket for these services.
Previous research suggests that the general public values the benefits of dental care, such as less frequent bleeding when brushing and aesthetic improvements. However, it is unknown what the marginal willingness to pay for a package of dental services (mWTP) is. This is particularly relevant as the majority of dental work is not covered by Medicare or private insurers.
Dental implants are a permanent solution to missing teeth. They are more stable than traditional dentures and can restore your ability to speak, chew, and smile with confidence. They are also an important factor in maintaining your bone density. Unfortunately, not all dental insurance plans cover the cost of dental implants. The good news is that more and more dental insurance companies are including implant procedures in their coverage plans. However, it is still necessary to research the various options available and compare prices to find the best deals.
The type of tooth you are replacing will play a role in your dental implant costs. If you are replacing a back molar, it may be more expensive than a front tooth. Additional procedures such as a bone graft or sinus lift will also add to the cost.
The dentist’s level of experience and reputation will also play a role in the cost of your dental implant. More experienced, reputable implant specialists typically charge more than less-established dentists. In addition, geographical location and individual dentist fees will affect the overall price of your implant. It is also a good idea to look into financing options for your implant procedure. This includes utilizing your FSA or HSA. These accounts allow you to set aside pre-tax money from your paycheck that can be used for eligible medical expenses, such as dental implants.
One of the best ways to save on dental costs is by making regular appointments. Dentists are often more willing to negotiate a discount for patients who are on a regular schedule, which could save you money.
You can also look for discounts on your own, such as with a CareCredit card or an HSA (healthcare savings account). An HSA allows you to save for medical expenses and dental work before taxes. This can lower your total cost of care by lowering copayments, premiums and deductibles.
Prices for dental services vary significantly from area to area, so do some comparison shopping. Check prices at FAIR Health to get a sense of what is typical for your area, then call around and ask for quotes. Many people can find a more affordable treatment plan by talking to the dentist and explaining their financial situation. The dentist may be willing to provide a payment plan or even reduce their quoted fees. In addition, they may be able to refer you to an in-network provider for a lower price.