Dental Health Insurance Options

With over 45 million Americans still not covered by dental health insurance, dental care remains one of the highest health expenses for most families. Although about 90% of people who have health insurance covered by employer sponsored plans have dental health insurance as well, the majority of Americans still have difficulties meeting their oral care needs and are either dependent on Medicaid, pay out of their own pockets or simply forego taking care of their teeth, because they can not afford to do so.

If you are checking the markets for the most reasonable dental health insurance, a knowledge of what each type of insurance covers will help you make an educated choice. If you are searching for the best dental health insurance for your family, you need to understand the extent of coverage each type of insurance provides.

Here are the most common types of dental insurance you can choose from:

1. Discount Dental Plans

Technically, this is not really a form of dental insurance, because what dental plans do is to encourage people to pay an annual membership fee to the company managing the dental plan. With this membership fee, the insured are allowed to avail of discounted dental services from the company’s roster of dentists. The discounted payment is paid by the patient directly to the dentist, based on the plan’s suggested service fee list.

2. Traditional or Indemnity Dental Insurance Covers

This is sometimes known as a traditional fee-for-service insurance cover, where the insurance company covers certain dental treatments such as preventive oral care, fluoride applications, annual dental check ups, etc. For more complicated and expensive treatments, the coverage will usually range from 50-80% of the cost of the treatment and the patient would have to pay the difference. There is usually a limit set on the amount of coverage and most traditional plans allow you to choose your own dentist.

3. Managed Care

Managed care is getting more popular these days because by paying a monthly premium to a dental health management organization (DHMO), patients can go to the dentists who belong to the DHMO for all their dental treatment needs (as indicated on the dental plan) within the time set on the insurance policy.

Most of the frequently availed of dental treatments such as cleanings, annual check ups, x-rays are provided free to the patient, while other more expensive dental procedures such as implants, bridges, and root canals would require the patient to pay for the difference. This may seem more beneficial than the traditional type of dental health insurance plans, but the only downside with DHMOs is you can only avail of the services of the dentists recommended by them.

4. Dental Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO)

This type of dental health insurance is similar in some ways with a DHMO, in that the insured must select from a panel of dentists accredited by the PPO. However, you are also given the freedom to choose your own dental health provider, who may not be in the panel of dentists. You may have to pay higher co-payments and deductibles than you would have if you are just using the PPO accredited dentists.

When choosing your dental health insurance plan, know what kind of insurance coverage is being offered, what the premium costs will be and whether you can choose your own dentist or not. You can check the websites of insurance companies offering dental insurance and make comparisons with the benefits that each one provides. Keep yourself informed and read the fine print of the insurance policy so that you can understand the extent of your coverage.

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Misconceptions About Dental Insurance

Here are some common misconceptions about dental insurance…

Myth #1: My Dental insurance will cover everything – I have 100% coverage.

Dental insurance is not really insurance at all – it is a benefit plan that helps to pay some of the costs of dental care. Your dental plan has a set of fees that they will pay up to. Your dentist generally has the same fees as other dentists. The fee reflects the quality of the treatment that you receive as well as the cost to provide it. Often there is a difference between what the insurance plan will pay and the fee for treatment. The difference, known as the co-pay amount, is up to you. Your dentist cannot legally just “write it off”. Unfortunately dental plans have the same $1000-$1500 benefit as plans did in 1970. If you factor in inflation alone, they should pay a minimum of $3000 per year. The cost of providing dental treatment has increased well beyond inflation alone through this time period, further increasing the gap between your benefit plan maximum and the true cost of treatment. Your benefit plan is negotiated by your employer and is a contract between you and the insurance company. Unfortunately the cost to provide these plans keeps going up and your employer needs to keep costs down, so the trade-off to keep premiums low is to simply not increase the maximum benefit.

Myth #2: If my insurance doesn’t cover it, I don’t need it.

Dental insurance pays for a healthy adult with minimal to no dental problems. If you have any form of gingivitis (gum infection), gum disease, or need several fillings, you may find that your plan will help with the first 1000-1500 and the rest is up to you. Only an oral healthcare professional can diagnose what is needed for each individual. Dental insurance will only cover what was negotiated in the policy. Unfortunately the insurance company will decide whether something is covered or not, regardless of what is diagnosed. Dental insurance is there to help us, but ultimately should not override what was diagnosed by the doctor.

Myth #3: Dental insurance only covers a cleaning every 6/9 months.

This is not true – coverage for 6/9 months is only limited for the dental exam portion of the cleaning visit (when the dentist checks your teeth). This has nothing to do with the actual dental scaling and polishing that the dental hygienist provides. Unfortunately many patients are misinformed and this can have a detrimental effect on your oral health. Dental cleaning helps remove bacteria and toxins that collect on the teeth both above and below the gumline which can cause oral disease. For patients who have active oral disease such as gingivitis or periodontal disease, the frequency in which the teeth must be cleaned can mean the difference between halting a disease process or further destruction of the gums and jawbone. The majority of dental plans will support regular care visits with your dental hygienist at the interval recommended for you based on your oral health.

Take Better Care of Your Dogs Health

If you are thinking about getting a dog or already have a dog, you should know that taking good care of their health takes a lot of work. You should think of your dog as a regular family member that needs tender loving care to thrive in life. There are many things that you can do to keep your dog nice and healthy.

The first and foremost is to make sure that you take your dog for a physical exam at the veterinarian office once a year. This dog lover wearing veterinary scrubs will tell you if your dog needs a change in diet, more exercise, or anything else you might be unaware of. An annual physical is important since dogs age quickly and are unable to tell you if something is wrong. Your dog could very well be sick for weeks and you might not even know about it. Your veterinarian is an expert when it comes to dealing with sick pets. If your dog gets a clean bill of health once a year, you can rest easy knowing that they are feeling as good as ever. Your veterinarian might tell you that nutrition is just as important for your dog as it is for you. Make sure to follow his advice when he tells you how much food, what type of food and how often to feed your dog. Proper nutrition is key to keeping your dogs coat looking sleek and healthy.

Another highly important step in assuring your dogs health is to make sure that your dog receives all of the required vaccinations from your nurse shoes wearing veterinarian at the proper times. It is recommended that puppies between four to twenty weeks of age receive all of the required vaccinations for dogs. Depending on how you feel about vaccinations, you can choose to continue them with your dog as he ages, or simply pass on that shot.

Brushing your dogs teeth can also help his overall health. Dental disease is the most common disease when it comes to dogs. Unfortunately, this is one of the most preventable and treatable of their possible diseases. You can help to reduce your dogs chance of getting this disease by feeding him chew treats and toys. You can even brush your dogs teeth once a day just like you would your own. If you are really feeling extra caring when it comes to your dogs teeth, your veterinarian in print scrub jackets can recommend a special toothpaste made especially for dogs.

Need a Dental Implants Dentist? Learn About It First

Most people do not know that there is such thing as a dental implants dentist, but there certainly is. These professionals can offer many benefits for patients who have missing teeth and are not ready for dentures or bridges. If you have missing teeth but don’t want the discomfort of bridges or dentures you may be interested in dental implants. With implants, a dentist is able to restore missing teeth and help patients keep their full smiles. Are dental implants a good option for you?

In order for implantation to be successful patients should be in overall good health with good gums and enough jaw bone to support the implants. Your dentist can evaluate your mouth and let you know if you are a good candidate or if other options would work better for you. Smokers and those with uncontrollable diabetics are not good candidates for implants because they experience slower healing times which is counterproductive to implant success.

You will want to make your appointment for an evaluation with a dentist who is trained in dental implants such as an oral surgeon, or a cosmetic dentist, who will examine your mouth, including your jaw bone to make sure it can support the implants and go over your medical history as well as take x-rays and possible a CT scan if the dentist feels it is needed. A CT scan combines a series of x rays taken at different angels in order to give a cross sectional image of your bones and tissue inside the body.

If all goes well and you are deemed a viable candidate for dental implants, your dentist will go over the stringent need for oral hygiene that you must commit to for the implantations to be successful. You will likely meet with a dental hygienist before your oral surgery to help answer any questions you may have about the care and upkeep of your new implants. For the most part this merely involves brushing your teeth, flossing and greater attention to your oral health. Dental implants rely on the structure and strength of the teeth that surround them for stability, so it is important to maintain the remaining teeth for your overall implant success.

The benefits of dental implants include the ease of maintaining them verses dentures or bridges which require you to remove them for hygiene care and overnights. Also dentures or bridges can greatly restrict your diet while implants look and act just like your natural teeth and are no diet restrictions are imposed by their use. Finally implants are just as normal feeling as real teeth once your jaw heals from surgery, unlike dentures or bridges which require constant refitting to maintain that same comfort level.

With the proper care, these implants can last as long as your natural teeth and most patients who opt for implants are highly satisfied with the results.

Health Insurance Comparison Shopping Makes Sense

In this age, to not have some type of insurance is unheard of. Whether it be health, dental, vision, automobile, or home insurance, we all need to have insurance. Automobile insurance is required by the lender. Homeowner’s insurance is required by the lender. And health insurance is required by good common sense.

So, being that these are all very important issues, why is it that many people yet do not own needed insurance plans? Well much of the reason is because of cost. The United States is experiencing one of the most heavy-hitting recessions in human history. As a result, many are “pinching pennies” like never before. To some, insurance is more of a luxury, rather than a necessity. However, the truth of the matter is that regardless of age, race, and social or economic status, everyone has the right to topnotch insurance coverage.

There are many companies today which have websites where individuals can search and compare states and plans that are available on the market. They will give you multiple quotes for free, often within about a minute. Even though many of us don’t have the time to search the internet these days, a little bit of time spent can end up saving hundreds of dollars, and could possibly find you the policy that you didn’t think you could ever afford.

Many times, insurance rates are determined by region and personal circumstances. Too, sometimes companies who have been in business for many years will charge high rates, largely because they feel many are willing to pay for the brand name of coverage. Either way, whether individual is big on specific brands or if they are just looking for suitable insurance coverage, regardless of the brand or company, they can find their personal pick by going online and comparing. It’s amazing how insurance quotes can vary from company to company.

When you receive insurance quotes online, they should be provided for free. If there’s a charge, then close that window and navigate to another provider. Whether you are looking to negotiate rates or searching for a brand new policy, it is an excellent idea to go online and do a little bit of digging around. The peace of mind you get by having a good insurance policy can never be underestimated in its value.