Taking the Back Seat In Your Oral Healthcare
Dental insurance has never been like medical insurance.
Only in dentistry are patients able to choose what procedures are necessary. Medicine doesn’t allow you to pick and choose what treatments to do. For example, if you need a quadruple bypass surgery, you don't do 1 bypass a year, you do it all. Same should go for our oral health.
Annual Dental Benefits average $1000-$2500 per year, depending on what your employer chooses to cover. Exams, Xrays and Cleanings alone take up $300 at the least and multiply that by the recommended 2 visits per year and you already are out $600! Subtract your deductible of around $25-$100 per year and now you have $300 left if you have an annual benefit of $1000 per year! That will cover maybe 1 filling. Imagine if you need a few crowns or a deep cleaning!
Dental insurance functions as a coupon-you get a discount but very rarely does insurance pay in full. Exams, Xrays and Cleanings are, for most plans, covered at 100% by dental insurance and this is because insurance thinks they are helping you prevent costly dental treatment by at least going twice a year. That is not the case. Think of your mouth as a car: how often you need oil changes depends on how many miles you drive a year. Your dental care should be decided on an individual basis by the dental team, not by what your insurance dictates it will cover. If you don’t floss daily, have diabetes, heart conditions, thyroid issues or other immunocompromised illnesses, you need more cleanings because of the “mileage” that you put in your mouth-your body works hard but needs more help than just two cleanings per year. But after that, you are on your own as your coverage for dental treatment depends on benefits chosen by your employer.
Bear in mind that your dental insurance plan has never met you and does not know what is best for you, so why should you value their opinion of your mouth?
In order to fully achieve your highest potential with oral healthcare, you need a comprehensive approach. Rather than picking and choosing what to do with your teeth each year, you treat the whole mouth all at once, just like you would do with other parts of your body. Picking what dental treatment you get done each year does not create stable oral health as you are constantly waiting for your benefits to renew every January to restart the process again. In doing so, you delay treatment and impact the stability of your teeth that still need treatment-they may need costlier treatment while you wait for your benefits to renew. The cavity won’t stop growing, the cracks in your teeth will continue to get larger and the gum disease will get worse. Treating all your teeth at the same time is expensive but is necessary to get your teeth and gums stable together so that maintenance will be all what you need in years to come. Treating one tooth at a time will not allow for balanced oral health since all teeth need to be treated at the same time in order to harmonize your bite, your teeth and your gums. Those who have had lots of dental work will attest to having different materials and colors of fillings and crowns in their mouth-definitely not an esthetic result in my opinion! Some will say it does not bother them, but imagine if all the treatment was done at once and all of your teeth are the same color with a balanced bite! Life would be great, wouldn't it?