Q: What questions should I consider before choosing a dental plan?
A: Dental insurance can be an effective way to prevent damage to your teeth and gums. When determining what dental insurance plan would fit you best, it is important not to just look for the least expensive plan, but think about what individual needs you have, such as medical conditions that may compromise your oral health, nutritional challenges, complicated dental issues and will the dentist or hygienist have enough time to address my concerns? Besides cost, these issues could make the difference in a patients oral care, so it is worth thinking about before choosing a plan. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Can I choose my own dentist? Just like health insurance, some dental insurance plans will restrict you to certain dentist or clinics, you may not be able to see your regular provider. If you are happy and well cared for by the dentist you see, it is often worth it to pay a little extra for the insurance option that allows you freedom of choice.
- Will my dentist and I get to choose the best treatment for me? Some dental insurance plans allow only the least expensive treatment option to restore your teeth. Although other treatment options may be available–you may never be made aware them.
- What will be covered? Most dental plans will cover two preventive visits per year with little or no co-pay to the patient. Many policies also recognize the need for additional visits for patients being treated for periodontal conditions and patients with chronic health issues. Other services can be covered anywhere from 50%- 80% up to the plan’s maximum, depending on the type of restoration you need. You’ll want to be careful when looking at individual dental plans, often their are many restrictions that may not be apparent initially. The most common is a 6-12 month waiting period for payment on many of the most common services that drive patients to enroll in a plan. There is also a difference between a true dental insurance plan and a reduced fee for service program.
- Will I be limited to when I can schedule an appointment? Sometimes in-network dentists limit scheduling times for certain dental insurance participants due to the reduced fee for service they have agreed to take. This means that the patient may be restricted to certain days and times during the week for appointments.
- What will I pay? Dental plans are usually worth the premium you pay. Most often it would cost much more for you to pay all services out of pocket than it would for the co-payment. In addition, the premiums may be tax deductible or if you have opted for a flex spending plan you will save about 30% in taxes.
There are many things to consider and each patients situation is different, which is why we are here to help you review your treatment and help plan for the best benefit choices for you.
A better diet, a little more exercise–healthy living is easy if you take it one tip at a time:
- Enjoy the benefits of yogurt. It’s creamy smooth and packed with flavor. Research suggests that one humble carton of yogurt may: help prevent osteoporosis; reduce the risk of high blood pressure, and aid in gastrointestinal conditions.
- Help your holiday heartburn. Try these hints and you can stop the burn before it starts: nibble–enjoy your favorite foods in moderation–packing your stomach with food makes heartburn more likely. Know your triggers–certain foods feed heartburn’s flame. Typical triggers include foods full of sugar and fat. Get up—stretching out for a nap post-meal is a great way to guarantee you’ll get reflux, instead keep your head higher than your stomach.
- Kiss holiday cold sores goodbye. If you find you are more prone to cold sores, you may be your own worst enemy. That’s because lack of sleep, too much alcohol or sugar, stress, and close physical contact (think Aunt Mary’s smooches) can all contribute to outbreaks. To keep your kisser cold-sore free, try these tips: don’t overdo on the holiday goodies. Get plenty of rest. Wash your hands. Don’t share food or drink containers. Discard used tissue.
- Start a winter tradition—family workouts. Walking is suitable for young and old.
- Eat locally. Some nutritionists think eating locally may be even more important than eating organically. That’s because a vital factor in a food’s nutrient profile is how long it took to get from the farm to the table.
- Invest in your health—literally. Having an HSA (health savings account) or flex spending account for medical expenditures. How about making time for yourself to get to those doctor appointments? After all you are worth it!
Whatever healthy steps you choose to take–eating better, exercising more, saving for medical co-pays–they are an investment in you. Bank a little more sleep this new year. Set aside stressful differences. Stock a healthier pantry. It’s your body!