Dental insurance is significantly different from other forms of insurance. With health insurance or homeowners insurance – there is a huge downside to not being insured. If you get seriously injured and require surgery, your medical bills will be astronomical without the right type of health insurance. If your home burns down without homeowners insurance, you will be in a world of hurt from a financial perspective. You almost have to have these types of insurance; health insurance is even required by law now. However, dental coverage is a bit different. You don’t necessarily have to have dental insurance. The downside to not having dental coverage is significantly lower than other forms of coverage, like health or homeowners’ coverage. And while the downside with dental coverage is low, the upside is about the same. Ultimately, the decision to get dental coverage or not comes down to your lifestyle, age and needs.

The In’s & Out’s Of Dental Insurance

During most years, you may only need cleanings, exams and x-rays. These services are usually considered preventative care and wholly covered by most dental plans. If you were to only need these types of services throughout the course of a year, you would pay more in dental premiums than the services would cost out-of-pocket. Yet, in years where your dentist may inform you that you need fillings, a root canal or a crown – dental insurance can save you a good chunk of change. The key is choosing a dental plan that works for your needs.

Why Buy Dental Insurance

Just like many forms of insurance, dental insurance offers peace of mind. While routine visits won’t set you back too much, a large procedure, such as filling or crowns, could cost upwards of $3,000. The real benefit of dental coverage comes from not having to break the bank in case of a dental emergency for a chipped or knocked out tooth.

How It Works

Dental plans are often a bit tricky to understand. This is because most dental coverages work in an opposite manner of health insurance. You receive a certain amount of coverage and after that you have to pick up the bill or wait until next year. This coverage usually correlates directly to the “100-80-50” plan. One-hundred percent of preventative are is taken care of. Eighty percent of fillings and root canals are covered. While only 50% of major procedures, such as bridges, are covered by the plan. While somewhat confusing, it’s best to speak with providers about the details of any plan.

Waiting Periods

While not every individual needs a dental plan, dental coverage can offer a great benefit to many. Surprisingly, a majority of Americans do not have dental coverage. However, there are some groups that should look into dental coverage if they are not insured already. You don’t want to be stuck paying thousands of dollars for dental work that could have been covered with a small plan. Larger families should strongly consider dental insurance. The more individuals in your household, the higher likelihood someone in your household will need a basic or major dental procedure at least once a year. Active individuals who play contact sports must have dental insurance. Contact sports greatly increase the chance of a tooth getting chipped, knocked out or worse. Lastly, all seniors should have some form of dental coverage. Just like the rest of the body, your teeth and mouth will require more attention as you age – and the cost of dentures isn’t cheap.

Medicare & Dental

Medicare and dental coverage are tricky topics. Technically, Medicare does not cover dental services. However, a majority of Medicare Advantage programs do offer some form of dental insurance. The original program, Medicare Parts A and B, do not cover dental services. Medicare Advantage programs often cover a wide range of dental benefits.

Dental Insurance For Seniors

Dental benefits are important for seniors because poor oral health can lead to grave health consequences as an individual ages. If you’re a senior who does not have dental coverage, it’s important to weight your options. You will want to look into a retiree health plan or a stand-alone dental benefits plan. If those options prove cost prohibitive, you’ll need to at least seek preventative care. As well, if a dental problem does begin to persist – you need to handle the problem quickly. The longer you let a dental problem persist, the more expensive it will become.

Dental Insurance & You

Dental insurance may not be for you. You simply may not have a need for coverage. However, many individuals will do themselves a service by looking into a few dental plans. Check with your employer to see if dental coverage is available for you and your family. Often, companies offer dental alongside health coverage. If not, you’ll want to look around for dental coverage.

With every insurance product, you’ll need to shop around and find the best deal. Read the fine print of any policy you’re interested in and make sure your preferred dental benefits provider will be covered by the policy. Speak with the provider and ask any questions you may have before signing up for a policy. Dental insurance should usually cost between $12 and $50 per person, per month.