When to Think About Supplemental Dental Insurance

Getting regular checkups from a dentist can help you avoid losing teeth and prevent bad breath and toothaches. A dentist can also recognize early signs of serious health problems such as oral cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis. Here are some situations where you should consider supplemental dental coverage.

1. You Don’t Have Dental Insurance

Many health insurance plans don’t cover dental work, and some people wait years between dental visits. If you don’t get regular checkups, you’re more likely to have cavities, gum disease, sensitive teeth, and other issues. A small, undetected cavity will grow without treatment, and it could force you to have a tooth removed or get a costly root canal.

Most dental plans don’t require copayments or other fees for checkups, and making the right choice will encourage you to visit your dentist every six months. If your dentist finds a problem, you can have it treated quickly without needing to worry about the cost. This helps keep your mouth and the rest of your body healthy.

2. Your Dental Insurance Doesn’t Cover Some Things

Many plans require you to pay a deductible before they start covering your treatment. You could need to pay coinsurance, a percentage of all treatment costs, as well. Some plans also have an annual maximum, a limit on the amount they’ll pay per year. If you think you might need dentures, a dental implant, or other costly dental work, you can get supplemental dental insurance. It will cover many costs that your existing plan expects you to pay on your own.

3. You Have Existing Health Problems

If you have issues with your health, you’re more likely to have dental problems as well. Many medications can increase your risk for dental issues, including many decongestants, high blood pressure medications, antihistamines, antidepressants, pain medications, and sedatives. Common side effects that seem minor could lead to serious problems. For example, dry mouth increases tooth decay and irritates the tissues inside your mouth, making them more susceptible to infection. It can also cause bad breath and make eating and speaking difficult.

4. You’re Older Than 65

According to Harvard Medical School, older people have higher rates of tooth loss, gum disease, oral cancer, mouth infections, and other dental issues. The chances of needing invasive procedures like root canals triple for senior citizens.

When you retire, you could lose the dental insurance provided by your employer. Whether you’re working or not, you can start using Medicare when you turn 65. However, original Medicare (Parts A and B) doesn’t cover visits to a dentist. The enamel that protects your teeth wears away as you get older, and the nerves in your teeth lose sensitivity as you age. Since older people might not notice a cavity or another problem until it becomes severe, insurance protection is especially important.

You should consider supplemental Medicare dental coverage to avoid becoming part of the almost 25 percent of seniors who hasn’t seen a dentist in five years. Some Medicare Advantage plans, also called Medicare Part C, cover dental cleanings, X-rays, and more complex procedures. If the policy you choose doesn’t cover dental or provide enough insurance for your needs, you can add supplemental dental insurance in the same way you would with a non-Medicare plan.

The right dental insurance lets you get anything that’s wrong with your oral health treated early. That way, you can keep any issues from getting worse and make sure your mouth stays healthy.

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