Dental Insurance Tips

Read these 9 Dental Insurance Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Dental Plans tips and hundreds of other topics.

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What is gingivitis?

The Signs of Gingivitis

Rinse with Mouthwash X or else! You've probably had the word gingivitis used to threaten you in a commercial before, but have you ever wondered what it really is?

Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums and its symptoms include sore, red, swollen, and easily bleeding gums. Gums suffering from gingivitis might even be numb instead of sore. Although the disease can be caused by a lack of dental hygiene, which causes plaque to accumulate, irritate, and infect the gums, this disease can also be caused by brushing too hard.

If left untreated, gingivitis is painful and can lead to trench mouth, which involves deep ulcerations in your gums, and eventual tooth loss.

If you think you may have gingivitis, you should see your dentist immediately. If you don't have dental insurance right now, you should at least buy a discount dental plan to make your visit and the subsequent treatment of the condition affordable. Since leaving gingivitis untreated will cost you much more than money in the long run, this is one investment you should definitely make.

   
Do eating disorders affect one's teeth?

Bulimia and Your Mouth

On top of the the many other negative effects an eating disorder can have on your health, it can also wreak havoc on one's dental health.

Bad breath is by far the least dental health worry related to bulimia or anorexia. In addition to the direct damage that stomach acid (introduced to your mouth from throwing up) does to your teeth, poor nutritional health makes it more difficult for your body to fight infections, including gum disease, which can lead to permanent damage to your teeth, their supporting bone structure, your gums, and eventually it may lead to tooth loss.

Even though an eating disorder can have a profound affect on one's dental health, treating such a disease is not covered by your dental insurance. The effects of those diseases on one's teeth are just one of the many reasons to seek treatment immediately, before significant and potentially permanent damage is done to the victim's body.

Psychiatric treatment relating to eating disorders is available in most school systems and universities. It is also covered by most standard health insurance policies.

   
Is smoking really that bad for my teeth?

Smoking Destroys Teeth

Smoking can do more to your mouth than turn your teeth nasty colors and give you bad breath. Studies show that it also puts you at a greater risk of getting tooth decay, gum disease, bone loss, and eventually tooth loss, not to mention cancer of the mouth.

Even if you're really confident that your dental insurance will cover any eventual damage to your teeth that your smoking might cause, keep in mind that studies also show that those living with a smoker, including kids, are also more likely to suffer from tooth decay and other dental ailments.

The dental health of yourself and of your loved ones is just another reason to stop smoking.

   
Can’t afford the relatively high costs of dental insurance?

Dental Insurance May Not Be Cost-Effective

Most dental insurance plans are only designed to cover basic care such as twice yearly cleaning and exams and routine x-rays. Many people make the mistake of thinking that just because they have dental insurance, the insurance will cover things like root canals, crowns or other extensive reconstructive work. Even though this type of work isn't considered cosmetic, most dental insurance plans will only cover a portion of this sort of treatment, if anything is covered at all.

Deductibles and Co-payments

People who purchase dental insurance must also pay a deductible before the insurance kicks in on things for which they make full or partial payment. It's important to sit down and think about how much you will have to pay each month in order to get dental insurance, how much that insurance is actually paying for, and whether or not you're getting back more than what you're paying out in actual services.

To determine whether or not dental insurance is cost effective for you, find out what your monthly premium is, and then multiply that by twelve. Figure in the amount of your deductible, and then calculate how much you'd spend on your routine dental appointments each year. Since most policies cover basic cleanings and exams, once you've paid your yearly deductible, you've got to subtract that from what is covered. Also realize that the deductible applies for every member of your family.

Create Your Own Dental Savings Account

For many people, a wiser way to go would be to put the money they would have spent on a dental insurance plan into a saving account that is reserved for dental expenses. For extensive work that isn't covered, there is a special type of credit card that can only be used for things like medical, dental and vision care, and as long as you can pay off whatever is owed in the time frame you specify, there is no interest to pay on the bill. In the end, make sure that if you are paying for dental insurance, that you're not paying more than what you'd pay for the service if you didn't have the insurance.

If you are someone who has a history of ongoing dental problems, or you've got a dentist who writes off a portion of the cost of services, there may be an advantage to having coverage. If you generally only see the dentist twice a year, the amount you'd pay on monthly premiums, plus the deductible may mean that you wind up paying more for your insurance than what the insurance is actually covering for you.

   
What kinds of fillings do dental insurance companies cover?

White Fillings vs. Silver Fillings

Even if you're not a rap star, you can still have a mouth full of precious metal. Eat badly enough, stop brushing your teeth, and before long your dentist will be filling your mouth with metal fillings.

If you'd prefer white fillings that match your teeth, be careful as dental insurance will often cover less of the cost of white fillings than of silver ones, particularly if the fillings are in the back of your mouth. Many people choose to use metal in the back to save money and white in the front for cosmetic reasons. Both types of fillings are effective, so the choice of which kind to get is up to you.

   
Do certain vitamins help me maintain good dental health?

Vitamins and Oral Health

Do certain vitamins help me maintain good dental health?

Yes, but most of those on the list are vitamins that you would need for good health in general. Vitamins B, B-9, C, D, and E are all important for good dental health, as well as Coenzyme Q 10 and flavanoids, which give color to fruits and vegetables and to herbs as well. Sufficient quantities of these vitamins will help your teeth stay healthy but, if you have a balanced diet, you'll probably not be lacking in any of them.

Certain foods types, such as foods high in sugar, starch or acidic drinks, can have a much greater negative impact on your teeth than extra vitamins alone can protect them from. Furthermore, despite the positive impact that these vitamins and minerals can have on your dental health, your dental insurance will definitely not cover vitamin supplements, but rather only the fillings you'll need from eating unhealthily.

So even though vitamins can have a positive impact on your dental health, if you're looking to change your diet to help out your teeth, you should focus on cutting out negatives before putting the icing on your oral health cake with expensive vitamin supplements.

   
Looking for an affordable dental insurance policy that offers the greatest variety of dentists?

Dentist Lists

Looking for an affordable dental insurance policy that offers the greatest variety of dentists?

Some dental plans may have few dentists convenient to where you live so, if you are shopping around for affordable dental insurance, it is important to know whether you'll be able to receive treatment under your new plan by a good, local dentist.

A managed health care dental plan, such as a PPO plan, comes with a list of dentists that will treat you under that plan. The lists associated with most managed health care plans will probably be more extensive than those associated with HMO policies, as dentists must often treat HMO-covered patients at a loss according to the American Dental Association. Therefore, if you cannot afford a PPO, you might have better luck finding a local dentist if you're covered by a discount dental plan rather than an HMO.

   
What are the basic kinds of dental insurance?

Dental Insurance: The Basic Types

If you're shopping for a dental plan, the biggest decision you'll have to make is what type of dental insurance you want. There are many to choose from, including direct reimbursement policies, traditional indemnity insurance, HMO plans, discount plans or buyer's clubs. However, the most common that you'll likely come across are managed care plans, such as PPOs, HMO plans, and discount dental plans.

If you can afford it, a PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) plan is a good way to go, and is the type of plan provided by most employers. A PPO plan comes with a list of preferred providers and covers more than the usual things you might have done to your teeth.

While HMO plan are cheaper then PPO plans, they are not accepted by as many dentists. Those dentists that do treat HMO patients often do so at a loss, according to the American Dental Association (ADA).

On the other hand, discount dental plans are often cheaper than HMO policies and are accepted by a larger number of dentists. If you are looking for affordable dental insurance, you should probably consider a good discount dental plan rather than an HMO insurance policy.

   
Will my insurance cover the cost of fixing my knocked out tooth?

Coverage and Avulsed Teeth

You dribble the ball up the court, spin around a defender, set for a shot and then —WHAM! You find yourself on the ground with your lucky front tooth lying next to you.

Don't panic; teeth that are knocked out of your mouth, or avulsed, but are otherwise healthy can be replaced by emergency dental care. Rinse your missing incisor — but do not scrub it — and try to put it back into its vacant socket. If the tooth will not go back into the socket, place it in milk, water, or even in your cheek, and seek immediate dental care.

According to the Center for Disease Control, roughly one third of all dental injuries are sports related, but many athletes do not have dental insurance. Unfortunately, the costs for improperly treated dental injuries associated with the underinsured can be high, complications can occur and the patient may receive poor cosmetic results. If you or any member of your family is an active athlete, consider purchasing some affordable dental insurance so that you will have more emergency dental options available in your time of need.

   
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