17 Jun Is Dental Insurance for Seniors Worth It?
Dental work can get expensive, but is dental insurance for seniors really worth it? Choosing a plan can be confusing, and choosing the wrong one could mean paying too much. However, you don’t always have to have insurance to be able to afford dental care.
At Dr. Saba and Associates, we have been helping seniors in Sun Lakes affordably maintain their oral health since 1991. Let’s take a closer look at dental insurance for seniors and at the alternatives available.
Is Dental Insurance for Seniors Worth It?
Whether or not you need dental insurance as a senior depends on a variety of factors. When you’re choosing an insurance plan, you will need to consider whether you want to keep seeing your current dentist, calculate your health care budget, and plan ahead for your future dental needs.
If you already have a preferred dentist, you will need to find a plan that includes your dentist in its network. Seeing an out-of-network dentist will change what the plan covers as well as the costs of checkups and treatments. Because out-of-network dental services are more expensive than in-network visits, the wrong dental plan could cost you.
It’s rare to find a dental plan that fits a tight budget. Typically, the most a provider will pay each year for covered treatments is $2,000 or less. On top of paying any out-of-pocket costs for procedures that aren’t covered or exceed the annual maximum, you will also need to pay the premiums, deductibles, and copayments. If you need frequent dental care, you can quickly end up paying more with insurance than you would have paid without it.
Dental insurance plans typically cover 100% of the cost of preventative services like biannual checkups. However, most plans only cover 80% of the cost of fillings, root canals, and other common treatments, and only 50% of major services like oral surgery.
Because seniors are more prone to medical conditions that can cause gum disease or otherwise affect their teeth, they are more likely to need both basic and major dental services. It is important, therefore, to remember that even with dental insurance there can be significant out-of-pocket costs. it can be expensive to pay for the work you need along with all of the other costs associated with dental insurance.
How to Protect Your Teeth without Dental Insurance
Take Care of Your Teeth Every Day
Keeping your teeth healthy between professional cleanings will help you avoid expensive procedures in the future. Make sure to brush your teeth for a minimum of two minutes, twice a day, and to floss at least once daily. It’s also crucial to replace your toothbrush every three months to ensure it’s working effectively. Many patients find that investing in an electric toothbrush and Waterpik improves their oral health significantly. Remember: the most effective oral hygiene tools are the ones you will use. Other ways seniors can protect their teeth include quitting smoking, keeping dentures clean, and using an alcohol-free mouthwash.
Eat a Healthy Diet
To further protect your teeth, make sure to add plenty of calcium and fiber, as well as vitamins D and C to your diet. Calcium and vitamin D are especially important for seniors, because adults over 50 years old are more prone to bone loss (osteoporosis). When bone loss occurs in your jaw, it can eventually lead to tooth loss.
Fiber increases saliva production, which helps your mouth wash away bacteria. Vitamin C is important for both healthy gums and a strong immune system. It will help you fight gum disease and other infections.
Don’t Skip Your Dental Checkups
Even if you maintain excellent oral hygiene and eat a healthy diet year-round, regular dental checkups are still crucial for maintaining your oral health. Professional cleanings get rid of the bacteria that brushing and flossing can’t reach. Dental exams and x-rays are also important to help your dentist spot problems early on and treat them before they can grow worse.
Pay Out-of-Pocket for Dental Care
Lack of insurance is no reason to avoid essential dental procedures. If you are experiencing any problems with your teeth or gums, please don’t hesitate to contact your dentist for diagnosis and treatment. Delaying dental work only leads to more painful symptoms and more expensive procedures down the line.
If you’re worried about paying out-of-pocket, talk to your dental office. They will explain the cost of your dental care up front, and you won’t be surprised by any charges. They might also be able to recommend financing options or a savings plan that provides a discount on crucial dental procedures. It’s also a good idea to ask about alternative treatment options so you can find a solution that fits your budget.
Dental Care for Seniors in Sun Lakes
Is dental insurance for seniors worth it? Not always. Whether you have insurance or not, Drs. Saba and Romanin at Sun Lakes Dentistry are dedicated to providing affordable dental care. If you’re experiencing a toothache, tooth sensitivity, or other dental issues, we can find a treatment option that fits your budget. Call us at 480-895-2111 today to schedule an appointment.
Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (6/17/2022). Photo by Sam Moghadam Khamseh on Unsplash