If the dentist's drill isn't frightening enough, wait until you see the bills, should you require a root canal, crown or gum surgery. Dental insurance, like health insurance, provides you some peace of mind in return for a monthly premium. Depending on your plan, your insurer will cover all or part of a visit. As every person's mouth (and wallet) is different, you should shop around to find the plan that suits you best.
Types Of Dental Coverage
Decide what what you want covered. Care breaks down into three categories:
Preventive and diagnostic dental care includes all means used to prevent dental problems, such as regular cleanings and checkups. Almost all dental insurance plans will cover this.
Basic dental care includes fillings, tooth extractions and fixing broken teeth. Chances are high that at some point you will need at least one of these costly procedures. Not all plans include basic dental care; strongly consider buying the coverage.
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Major dental care includes advanced procedures, such as dental surgery, orthodontics and denture work. Many people cannot afford such procedures out of pocket. If you feel you may need serious dental work, you will find the extra coverage well worth the higher premiums.
Dental Insurance Premiums
As with other types of insurance, dental insurance premiums vary widely among plans and providers. Compare the range of procedures covered and at what percentage; the amount of the annual deductible; co-payments; and caps on annual payouts. Verify that your dentist is a member of the plan or an alternative one with whom you feel comfortable.
Consider the cost of premiums versus how much you estimate you would otherwise pay for out-of-pocket care in a year. As costs vary widely across the country, call dental offices in your area and ask about fees. Also visit such websites as CostHelper.com for estimates of various dental procedures.
Consider A Dental Discount Plan
As an alternative to insurance, consider a dental discount plan. You pay a membership fee that entitles you to discounts at participating dentists. In picking a plan, make sure that the discounts will offset the annual fee. As with insurance, verify that the list of dentists includes one in your area with whom you feel comfortable.