One word explains why dental benefits work: prevention. Most dental disease is preventable, so dental benefits are designed to help keep your smile healthy and keep you from developing serious oral health problems.
To promote preventive care, many dental plans cover all or most of the cost for routine dental checkups, including cleanings, X-rays and exams, and deductibles usually do not apply to these services.
At a routine checkup, your dentist can diagnose dental disease early on and treat any minor problems, saving you from more costly and time-consuming dental procedures down the road. In addition, poor oral health caused by a lack of preventive care can affect the way you eat, smile and talk.
But a Delta Dental claims study found that many people with dental benefits still don’t get the proper amount of preventive dental care. The study found in South Dakota:
• More than 57 percent of children at higher risk for tooth decay do not receive two fluoride treatments per year.
• More than 47 percent of higher-risk children ages 6-9 did not receive sealants on their first molars.
• More than 80 percent of higher-risk kids ages 10-14 did not receive sealants on their second molars.
• More than 148,000 of Delta Dental’s adult members are at higher risk for periodontal disease, but 41 percent of them did not receive two or more cleanings per year.
Regular dentist visits and using your dental benefits can improve both your oral and overall health. Preventive checkups help your dentist identify and intervene early to prevent serious dental issues, but more than 120 diseases, such as diabetes and certain cancers, have symptoms that can also be detected early during a routine oral exam.*
Find out if you’re at a higher risk for dental disease by taking Delta Dental’s free online risk assessment. If you are at high risk, you may benefit from additional preventive care services that may be covered by your dental plan. Take the assessment and share the results with your dentist at your next appointment.
Along with regularly visiting your dentist, keep up good daily habits – including brushing, flossing and eating healthy – to properly care for your smile.
* Steven L. Bricker, Robert P. Langlais, and Craig S. Miller, Oral Diagnosis, Oral Medicine and Treatment Planning (Philadelphia: Lea & Febiger, 1994).