Dental insurance is an excellent investment to make because it can help you save hundreds, or even thousands of dollars in dental care over time. By taking care of your smile, you are contributing to the health of your entire body. However, dental insurance works a bit differently than the medical insurance that you’re used to, so it can be challenging to navigate at first. Here are a handful of tips to help you out when it comes to fully maximizing your dental insurance benefits.
Use Your Preventive Coverage
If you aren’t currently seeing your dentist every six months for regular cleanings and checkups, you aren’t even close to fully maximizing your benefits. When you attend your routine appointments, you can prevent the development of oral health issues. Your hygienist will thoroughly clean your smile, and your dentist will take a look to ensure that you don’t have any existing dental issues that need to be addressed. By being on the lookout for small issues now, you can often times avoid costly, more invasive procedures later on. For example, by having a small cavity treated with a filling now, you may be able to avoid a more invasive procedure, like root canal therapy or an extraction, later.
Prevent General Health Issues
Your general health and oral health go hand-in-hand. People who suffer from gum disease are more likely to suffer from several other serious issues, including heart disease, diabetes, respiratory issues, and pregnancy complications. By seeing your dentist for cleanings and checkups, you can prevent infections and medical issues that will require lots of time and money to treat and eliminate.
Pick an In-Network Dentist
If you have a PPO plan, this gives you the ability to choose any dentist of your choosing, even if they aren’t necessarily in-network. However, when you choose a dentist who is in-network, you are likely to benefit from increased coverage of your dental treatments, therefore resulting in lower out-of-pocket costs.
Use Your Flexible Spending Dollars
If you have a flexible spending account (FSA) through your employer, you should use these dollars before the year comes to an end. This is because all of your funds may not carry over to the following year. Most of the time, dental expenses are eligible FSA healthcare expenses. FSAs reduce your taxable income by putting aside money for healthcare. By using tax-free dollars to pay for your dental treatments, you can ultimately save money over time.
Review Your Dental Benefits
The end of the calendar year is coming up, so now is a great time to look over your dental benefits once again. By knowing exactly what is covered under your plan and when it will reset, you will be able to better maximize your coverage. For most dental insurance plans, the benefits will reset at the end of the year. This means that you will be responsible for paying your deductible once again on January 1st. Any remaining benefits will not carry over to 2022.
If it’s been more than six months since your last visit, there is no better time to head back to the office. Talk to your dental team if you need extra help understanding your dental benefits. They want to help you get the most out of your money!
About the Author
Dr. Stephanie L. Santos has owned and operated Smile by Design for over 13 years. She earned her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and was an army dentist for three years. Currently, she is a proud member of the American Dental Association and the Spear Education Center Study Club. To learn more about how dental insurance works or to schedule an appointment at her office in Virginia Beach, visit her website or call (757) 499-9639.