Above any other medical need, people are more likely to skip a seeing the dentist because they can’t afford it. Many people choose not to buy dental insurance because it’s an added cost without a lot of perceived value. For some reason, people simply feel more comfortable taking this risk because they don’t fully understand the consequences of oral health problems-but it is a risk. You can develop a facial or oral injury just as easily as any other injury, and oral infections and diseases are just as common—if not more common—than other medical infections and diseases.
Beyond the critical events of oral injury or infection, preventative dental care (your regular cleanings and checkups) is crucial for catching problems before they become dangerous. Seeing the dentist regularly can help you address a surprising number of overall health and wellness issues. Still, dentists understand that medical costs are rising, the world of insurance is often a mystery, and sometimes you’re just at a loss. Dr. Wright, your Spring Branch dentist, explains more below about the current trends in dental insurance and what these can mean for you and your family.
Of all the reasons adults avoid the dentist, 40% say it’s because of cost, followed closely by the 33% of adults who don’t think they need dental care. (You can see where this is going—there’s almost no reason someone would pay for a service they think is expensive and unnecessary.)
A lot of people seek dental treatments without dental insurance to help cover those costs. In 2013, the numbers ranged from 12% of children to 61% of senior citizens. Insurance may seem like a luxury-but when you need it, it becomes an essential. If you can make any adjustments to your monthly budget that allow room for dental insurance, it might be one of the best ways you take care of yourself and your family. No one wants to be stuck with a cracked tooth, infection, or jaw pain while also wondering how you’re going to pay for treatment.
Government-mandated insurance through the Affordable Care Act does not include dental coverage, except in the case of children. This is for good reason—children are vulnerable and they’re growing at such a fast rate. Catching a health problem and treating it promptly is essential for a lifetime of health and wellness. It’s also important that children develop good oral health habits early that they’ll stick to the rest of their life. Search HealthCare.Gov, or talk with a caseworker if you have one, to learn about your options for enrolling children in free or discounted dental insurance.
PPO plans (Preferred Provider Organization), which are more expensive, are becoming far and away more popular, making up 80% of all dental plans. But dental insurance plans are actually paying dentists slightly less per patient than they have in the past.
With or without dental insurance, more people are shopping around for the best rate before making a dental appointment. In today’s economic climate, people want to understand what they are paying for when purchasing any goods or services.
Research shows that, over time, dental insurance is actually the best “bang for your buck.” To help patients get even more out of their dental coverage, some plans are offering a rollover of funds if you don’t use all of your yearly benefits. Some plans allow for important preventative and diagnostic services without applying the costs against yearly maximums.
Smithson Valley Family Dentistry wants you to be healthy and will do whatever we can to increase your access to good oral health care. If you’re avoiding dental treatment because you don’t have insurance or you’re afraid of the cost, don’t be afraid to ask about financing options. Dentists are human, too! Dr. Wright and our team understand that life circumstances can change, especially when it comes to health and finances. We offer flexible financing through CareCredit® and Lending Club®, and we would be happy to discuss all the possibilities with you. If you need dental care-whether you have insurance or not – give us a call at Smithson Valley Dentistry today!