There are plenty of reasons that lead to people avoid a visit to their dentist. It could be due to a past bad experience, or a phobia about needles, enclosed spaces, dental tools, or people in “white coats.” It could be indifference, where they do not realize how delicate their oral health can be. Another common reason, however, is rarely discussed with a dentist or dental staff due to pride, or fear of embarrassment. Many patients avoid the dentist because of the financial cost.
Thankfully, there are dental insurance plans available through reputable companies – the Placerville Dental Group regularly works with the best available. Many of our patients receive dental benefits through their employer’s benefits package. These insurance providers also offer dental insurance packages to individuals or families for a monthly fee. For more information as well as direct links, please see our Dental Insurance page on our website.
How Dental Insurance Works
Even with dental insurance in use, many people view dental treatment as expensive. This perception is often based on how medical insurance works. With medical, once you have paid a certain amount in costs (the deductible), the insurance covers the rest, often with no limit. Dental insurance usually works differently, covering costs up to a certain percentage, and with a maximum cost limit. For instance, many dental plans offer “100/80/50 coverage,” which breaks down like this:
- 100% coverage of preventative care, including exams, cleanings, x-rays, and similar procedures
- 80% coverage on basic procedures like fillings, extractions, and periodontal work
- 50% coverage on major procedures such as crowns, root canals, dentures, bridges, or implants
With this coverage structure, many patients avoid basic and major procedures because they don’t want to pay any costs. And sometimes they avoid preventative care, because they don’t want to find out that they need a more expensive procedure. Sadly, a cavity or a toothache does not go away simply because you don’t want to know about it. Nevertheless, many dental patients avoid necessary treatment because of upfront costs. Why this difference in upfront costs?
Preventative care helps patients avoid more expensive procedures. That’s good for you and the insurer. It creates an incentive to get your teeth cleaned and examined twice every year. This helps you avoid the bigger jobs, like fixing cavities, doing root canals, and replacing teeth. As a result, only 2% to 4% of Americans reach their dental insurance coverage limit per year.
The difference in coverage between medical and dental insurance also exists because medical insurance is often much more expensive. (The average American pays about $360 per year for dental insurance.) That’s why your medical insurance often has a better payment or reimbursement structure than your dental insurance. Also, there are more Americans with medical insurance than dental insurance. The more people who are insured, the better the costs of health care can be spread between clients.
Help to Choose Your Plan
You may not want to talk about costs, but your dentist may be pivotal in suggesting the right coverage for your circumstances. The Placerville Dentistry Group knows teeth and gums, and we know what you need to maintain optimal dental care. Our staff is familiar with several dental insurance providers and their plans, and we are happy to help you find the one that will best suit your needs. You can discuss the issue over the phone with us, fill out our online form to get further information or visit our office for a discussion about how we can help reduce the cost of your oral health.