While in recent years, more attention has been paid to getting people without health insurance insured and laws have been passed making health insurance a requirement, the same isn’t true for dental insurance. Even before the changes were made in the law, a considerable number of people – around 40 percent of the population in the US, at the end of 2012 — didn’t have a dental insurance plan, according to the National Association of Dental Plans.
Skipping dental insurance and dental care might not seem like a big deal, since the teeth and gums are just one small area of the body. But, the health of your mouth can directly impact the health of the rest of your body. For example, gum disease has been linked to an increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions.
Keeping your mouth healthy and getting the appropriate treatment when needed, whether it’s surgery to remove impacted wisdom teeth or treatment for gum disease, is essential to your overall health. If you are among the many people who don’t have dental insurance, there are ways to cover the cost of a needed dental procedure.
Financing the removal of your wisdom teeth or other oral surgery no longer means putting the entire amount on a credit card and paying it back, with often high rates of interest, over many months. Dental financing options, such as CareCredit, Springstone Patient Financing, and Chase Healthcare Financing, are designed specifically for dental procedures.
In many cases, the approval process for healthcare financing is a lot simpler than the approval process when a person is trying to get approved for a personal loan or standard credit card. On top of a streamlined approval process, many financing providers offer better interest rates or flexible payment terms. For example, some companies might allow you to pay off the amount financed within a certain timeframe, without paying any interest.
When you are considering financing a procedure, it’s a good idea to speak with the periodontists or oral surgeons in advance, so that you know what the appropriate amount to borrow is.
What About Insurance?
If you do have dental insurance, it might cover most or some of the cost of your treatment. Usually, dental insurance plans will cover the full cost of preventative care treatments, such as your semi-annual teeth cleaning and examination, plus an X-rays. Many plans offer some coverage for treatments such as root canals, fillings, or scaling and root planing, but won’t cover the full price. In a lot case, a plan will over even more limited coverage of major treatments, such as dental implants or won’t offer any coverage of those procedures.
When you have dental insurance and are considering seeing a periodontist for an exam or for a treatment or procedure, there are two things you want to check first. Make sure the practice takes your insurance or is in network for the insurance provider you use. Second, check with your insurance company to see if they offer coverage for a particular procedure and how much coverage they do offer.
The Importance of Preventative Care
Even if you don’t have any type of dental insurance, it’s still important to see a dentist for regular exams. Taking good care of your teeth at home, by brushing and flossing daily, is important, but it’s not enough to keep away gum disease or other major problems. If your wisdom teeth are coming and there is a potential issue there, it’s your dentist who will be the first to detect them.
While you might have to pay for your dental exams and routine cleanings out of pocket if you don’t have insurance, in the long run, what you pay for those routine check-ups will be considerably less than the cost of fixing any major issues that can develop when you’re out of touch with your dental provider. For example, it’s a lot less expensive to fill a small cavity in a tooth than it is to have a dentist perform a root canal on a tooth that has a significant amount of decay or damage.
Skipping regular dental checkups because of a lack of insurance can also increase your risk for gum disease. Tartar, the hardened form of plaque, develops when plaque is cleaned off the teeth right away. Only a dental professional can effectively remove it from your teeth. Left alone, tartar can irritate the gums and lead to gingivitis or more serious forms of gum disease.
Whether you have insurance or not, if you need treatment for a dental issue, such as gum disease, an impacted tooth, or a lost tooth, Miami periodontists Dr. John Paul Gallardo can help you determine the best option for financing or paying for your treatment. To schedule a consultation with the periodontists, call (305) 447-1447 today.