Discount Dental Plans Tips

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Are your battle scarred teeth sending dental insurance companies running for the hills?

Bad Tooth Health History

Battle scarred teeth can send dental insurance companies running for the hills. A traditional health care provider will often refuse to cover you if you have a bad history with your teeth, as they're afraid that they'll have to shell out for a lot more money for you over time.

Don't fear; you're teeth still have hope! You can still purchase a discount dental plan. Discount dental plans do not require a background check and often provide coverage the next business day after enrollment.

   
When exactly will a discount dental plan save me money?

When a Discount Dental Plan Makes Sense

Dental discount plans seem like a great deal, so what's the catch?

In general, discount dental plans cost a great deal less than more traditional dental insurance policies. However, each time you go in for a treatment, the relatively high monthly premiums of an insurance policy might become more attractive, as discount dental plans require you to pay a lot more out of pocket each time you see a dentist.

If you're trying to choose between one type of coverage or the other, you should consider your own dental past and those of your parents. If you and your family have needed a fair amount of work beyond the standard cleanings in the past, then you'll probably save money with a traditional insurance policy. If not, then you could save a bunch with a discount dental plan.

   
Are you afraid that you may exceed an insurance policy’s annual maximum?

Annual Maximums

Like many other Americans, sweets and soda have done their damage to your not-so-pearly whites. If your teeth are in pretty bad shape and you're shopping around for a dental health plan, keep in mind that traditional dental insurance policies have annual maximums that, once reached, will leave you on your own for any further dental work you may need.

Fortunately, discount dental plans do not have an annual maximum, but instead provide the same, consistent discount dental care every time you go in for a procedure. This way, six root canals later, your bank account will still have some extra cash for just one last packet of gummy bears!

   
Need some work done on your teeth that is not covered by your insurance company?

Dental Coverage Exclusions

Need some work done on your teeth that is not covered by your insurance company? Dental insurance policies often contain large exclusions that could leave you on your own to pay for extremely expensive treatments, such as those provided by an orthodontist.

Discount dental plans, however, do not contain any coverage exclusions and provide discounts for most common types of dental work, which could help you afford to keep your chompers healthy, white, and straight.

Before choosing an insurance policy or discount dental plan for yourself and your family, be careful to make sure that the plan you choose covers all the procedures that you are likely to need.

   
Can’t afford to wait for dental insurance companies to reimburse you?

Reimbursement Periods

You would think that having good dental insurance would prevent you from having to spend a truck load of money on your teeth. Unfortunately, that's not the case, as most insurance policies require you to pay for treatment out of your own pocket and will reimburse you only after you file a claim.

Before enrolling in a dental insurance policy, make sure that you can handle these temporary and potentially very large expenditures. If not, then you may want to consider one of the discount dental plans on the market as an alternative. With a discount dental plan, you get an up front discount when you are treated, so you save money immediately rather than having to wait for a reimbursement.

The discounts offered by these plans, however, are often not as substantial as the reimbursements you would have received from a traditional insurance policy, so make sure you consider both types of dental health coverage before choosing one for you and your family.

   
How do I know if I have oral cancer?

Oral Cancer

Cancer is one of the most feared diseases on the planet and oral cancer is among the most deadly, killing more than half of all victims within 5 years. In fact, one person dies every hour in the US from oral cancer. Even those that survive are often severely disfigured, missing large parts of their jaw, tongue, and throat.

If you smoke, drink, or use chewing tobacco, then you are in the highest risk group for getting oral cancer. Moreover, drinking and smoking at the same time greatly increases the risk.

The key to surviving oral cancer, as with most cancers, is early detection. If you have sores or lesions in your mouth that stick around for a long time or have a constant lumpy feeling in your mouth, tongue, or throat when chewing or swallowing then you should see a specialist, such as a dentist, immediately.

Oral cancer can even be detected before these symptoms occur, but unfortunately most early signs are painless and can only be detected by a dentist. If you are in the high risk group, and in particular if you are over 40 as 95% of oral cancers occur in those over 40, then it is extremely important that you see a dentist for a cleaning, at least once every 6 months, so they can assess the overall health of your teeth and mouth.

If you can't see a dentist every 6 months because you don't have and cannot afford the high monthly premiums of traditional dental insurance, then you should enroll in a discount dental plan. Discount dental plans typically cost around $100 annually and include 2 free (or very cheap) routine cleanings, which will allow you to detect cancer early, as well as get your teeth cleaned.

   
You must have poor dental hygiene to have gum disease, right?

Dental Hygiene and Gum Disease

You must have poor dental hygiene to have gum disease, right?

In fact, more than 75% of Americans over age 35 have some form of gum disease. At its most mild, gum disease is called gingivitis, which consists of weak gums that are a little swollen and bleed too easily. If left unchecked, gum disease can turn into periodontal disease, where the bacteria in charge will cause further damage to your gums, as well as start attacking bone and connective tissue. Gum disease eventually results in tooth loss.

If you want to keep your teeth you must practice good dental hygiene. The root cause of gum disease is plaque around the gumline, so brushing at least twice daily can help prevent gum disease from even beginning. Brushing can't fully hold off gingivitis, however, as flossing is also necessary to remove plaque from the gumline and to strengthen your gums in general.

Even with perfect dental hygiene, your eating habits can take their toll on your teeth and gums, so it really is very important to see your dentist every 6 months for a cleaning and inspection. Since even discount dental plans make these visits affordable, you should stop making excuses and start making sure that your teeth stay healthy with you into old age.

   
How do you see a dental health specialist without a referral?

The Annoyance of Referrals

Annoyed that you have to get a referral from your dentist to see a specialist? Aside from the inconvenience of having to go to two separate appointments, you often have to provide a co-pay to see your dentist simply to get the referral that you already know you need.

If you are paying for your own dental insurance and find that you often need to see specialists for certain kinds of treatment, you should consider a discount dental plan as an alternative. These plans do not require you to have a referral in order to see a specialist.

Similarly, some insurance policies, especially the more upscale ones, do not require referrals to see specialists. If you can afford one of those, your coverage is likely to be better than with one of the discount dental plans anyway.

   
Worried that you’re going to have to start footing the bill for your recent high school grad’s dental insurance?

Save Money Treating Your Student's Teeth

Worried that you're going to have to start footing the bill for your recent high school grad's dental insurance? Don't worry! The family dental plan provided by your employer will probably cover your kids so long as they are registered as your dependents, as they will continue be during their time as a college student — though there is typically an age cap at around 23 to prevent parent's employers from supporting students-for-life.

However, if your employer insists that your recent high school grad should find his or her own dental insurance, you can purchase a cheap discount dental plan just for your student, or, for just a bit more, you can get a discount dental plan for your whole family. With no monthly premiums and only a modest annual fee — less than $200 is common — you can ensure that your child's teeth are still protected even when they're formally abandoned by their previous insurance. What's more, there is no age cap on this family dental coverage. Your kids will be protected under the plan so long as they are financial dependents living in your household.

   
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