Not worth a brush-off: Why dental insurance is a prudent purchase
You brush and floss as you should. Your grandparents and your great aunt Tootie have waltzed through life without dentures, suggesting that genetics are on your side. You’ve never had a cavity.
But you can’t clean your teeth as well as a dental professional can. You can’t check them for decay, and treat them to prevent further problems. And if you have an accident or injury involving your teeth, you probably can’t fix the damage.
That’s why dental insurance is a sensible investment.
Although adult dental insurance isn’t a required benefit of the Affordable Care Act, it is without question an important aspect of health and wellness. Over the years, studies have suggested that dental care does much more for us than ensure fresh breath and whitewashed teeth. For example, researchers at a 2011 American Heart Association meeting shared findings of a seven-year study in Taiwan of 51,000 adults that revealed that those who had their teeth professionally cleaned at least once every two years were 24 percent less likely to have a heart attack, and 13 percent less likely to have a stroke.
Here are four reasons that will have you smiling about dental insurance:
It’s a sound financial investment. Whether you have tooth decay and need a filling, or face a root canal, having dental insurance may help you offset the cost of those treatments. According to www.okcopay.com, a website providing healthcare pricing information, the national median costs of a front tooth filling is $170, and $183 for a molar filling. Online media publishing company www.medicinenet.com reports the cost of a single-rooted tooth (incisor or canine) between $400 to $1,000, and a multi-rooted tooth (premolar or molar) as between $500 and $1,400.
It’s more affordable than you believe. Perhaps you skip buying dental insurance because you assume its cost isn’t budget-friendly. Here’s a question: Do you ever go out for lunch? What you shell out for a midday meal for one (including tax and tip) at your favorite restaurant may be close to the monthly premium cost of a quality individual dental health insurance plan. (Family dental insurance can be as reasonable, too, since insurers often discount policies with multiple insureds.)
Once you get it, you won’t wait long for waiting periods to end. Some dental insurance policies come with "waiting periods" that don't cover major services until you've had the policy for a specific length of time. So having a dental plan in place before you need your wisdom teeth extracted or root canal work done makes sense.
It’s a course in Parenting 101. If you have dental insurance, you’ll probably go to the dentist. That could help get your kids into the habit, at a young age, so that when they’re grown up, they’ll make dental care for them and their kids as important as, say, haircuts or swimming lessons. Signing up for family dental insurance not only protects your family’s teeth but also gives your kids something to chew on: The importance of maintaining oral health. Hopefully that’s a habit that’ll stick with them as long as they have teeth.
Which dental plan works for you?