The holidays? And your dentist?
Dental insurance benefits reset every year—they don’t roll over—so the last couple months of the year are a great time to see the dentist.
(Check to make sure your benefits run on a calendar year as opposed to a fiscal year in which case benefits would renew at some other time of the year.)
The National Association of Dental Plans reports that only 2.8% of people with PPO dental plans reach or exceeded their plans annual maximum. That means that more than 97% of people who have coverage are not using it.
You can “try out” a new dentist—If you’re not getting regular checkups and cleanings, maybe you’re avoiding it because you don’t like your current dentist. It happens. So, use those dental benefits to find a new dentist. You can get that great clean-teeth feeling, a thorough exam, and x-rays to see if there are any issues, and you can get a good feel for whether you like the new dentist.
“It’s important that you feel comfortable with your dentist because how patients experience the culture of a practice can really impact their oral health,” says Austin Dentist Samantha Hollinger, DMD. “Don’t skip your regular checkups just because you don’t like your dentist. Try a different dentist instead; your health is worth it.”
You’ll spend less—Most plans have an annual maximum. If you already know that you need extensive treatment that will involve multiple visits, it’s likely that you’ll hit that maximum payout and then you’re on the hook for expenses over your maximum limit.
“Dental offices are aware of this and will work with you to create a treatment plan that helps you save money by taking advantage of what your insurance offers,” says, Chase Pilat of TRU Dentistry Austin. By starting treatment before the year ends and continuing in the new year, you can break out your treatment plan over the two plan years and have double the benefits to cover more of the expenses that would be covered through your dental insurance.
You can catch problems earlier—Every dentist recommends 6-month checkups and cleanings, and it’s not because they’re trying to drum up business. The bacteria in your mouth is always busy and it works fast. A normal-size cavity can worsen to the point of requiring a root canal in as little as six months. Most dental insurance plans allow for two checkups per year, probably for that very reason. So, if you haven’t had a cleaning and checkup yet this year, take full advantage of your dental insurance and go. to. the. dentist!
“Bacteria in your mouth double in population every eight to 12 hours, so dental issues can escalate really quickly,” notes Dr. Hollinger. “It’s so much better to catch them sooner rather than later—it can save you a lot of money and pain.”
You can’t DIY dental care—Yes, you can help keep your teeth and gums healthy with regular brushing and flossing. However, no amount of brushing or flossing can keep tartar from building up. If you ever felt guilty at the amount of scraping your hygienist does on your teeth, relax. Your saliva contains minerals that stick to your teeth like barnacles—that’s the stuff the hygienist is scraping away during a cleaning, using a very precise and specialized instrument.
“The problem with tartar buildup is that it harbors bacteria,” says Dr. Hollinger. “Bacteria can cause minor problems like bad breath, but it can also lead to loose teeth, gum infection, and even bone infection.”
Contact TRU Dentistry Austin today to schedule a consultation. Your dental health starts here.