Perhaps you just purchased a dental insurance policy after a period of not having it…and not going to the dentist. If so, this to-do list may be for you.
Dentists and dental office staff are committed to helping you maintain overall dental and oral health. They also know that people skip dental visits, with or without insurance. Some may fear the dentist because of an unfortunate past experience. Others might be embarrassed of their teeth’s condition. Others may never have gotten in the habit of making appointments.
Dentists have experience with all sorts of teeth. They don’t judge you. They simply want you to visit now…regardless of the reasons of past absences. Use your dental insurance to its best ability by following these tips:
Find a dentist
Forgive the pun, but word of mouth may be the best recommendation for a dentist. Ask your friends, family, neighbors and coworkers. Interview dentists in your area. Read online reviews. If you had a good rapport with one you had previously, even years ago, consider him or her.
Ensure your dentist is part of your provider network
Call the provider with specifics to make sure you get the best value available through your particular coverage.
Make an appointment
Give background details: Explain to the scheduler how long it’s been since you’ve seen a dentist, previous issues you’ve had, and any current pain or discomfort. That way, staff will arrange appropriate time slot and treatment.
Provide dental records
Contact your most recent dentist and ask that your records, x-rays and other documents be forwarded to your new dentist. (Most offices can do this digitally.)
Get in the habit
Before your appointment, brush twice daily and floss before bedtime.
Follow the follow-up care
If your dentist recommends specific products and methods, heed the advice. If s/he recommends you return before six months is up (most insurance providers will cover two cleanings annually), contact your provider to determine that treatment during that appointment will be covered. (Most dentists are versed in what is covered and what isn’t, but it doesn’t hurt to double-check.)
Know the glossary
Be familiar with these terms:
- Premium: What you pay each month for coverage–essentially your plan’s “cost.”
- Deductible: The amount you yourself pay towards dental coverage before your plan’s coverage kicks in. Unlike health insurance plans, not all dental plans have deductibles.
- Copay: The fixed dollar amount you must pay for a procedure, such as a routine tooth cleaning.
- Coinsurance: The percentage of the cost you must pay for a procedure; your insurance covers the rest.
- Annual maximum benefit: Most dental insurance plans will pay only up to a certain amount, per member, per year. (Example: You may have $1,000 coverage for one year. Your spouse may have the same, as might your child, or children.) You must pay 100% of your dental expenses after you reach the annual maximum benefit.
- Waiting period: Before many dental insurance providers pay for major procedures, they may require you to be a member of the plan for 6 to 18 months.