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.