What is a dental plan?
A dental plan is a type of health benefit that helps make care more affordable. You pay a monthly or annual fee called a premium, and, in exchange, the dental plan helps you pay for dental services and procedures.
When it comes to preventive services like exams and cleanings, dental plans often cover the full cost. They also help reduce your out-of-pocket costs for many other procedures and treatments by sharing the cost, which helps keep your premiums affordable. Similar to medical insurance, copayments, coinsurance, annual maximums and deductibles are all ways the cost can be shared between the dental plan and the people it covers.
Why do I need a dental plan?
Even if you’re generally healthy with few or no cavities, it pays to have a dental plan. Here’s why:
You’ll enjoy better overall health.
Individuals with dental benefits are 83 percent more likely to visit the dentist at least once a year compared to those without dental benefits. 1 That’s important, because people who see their dentist at least once a year are more likely to report good oral health. In turn, those who give their oral health an “A” grade are more likely to rate their overall well-being as excellent.2
The link between good oral and overall health isn’t surprising – with an oral exam, dentists can detect signs and symptoms of more than 120 diseases, including heart disease and diabetes.3 Early detection and treatment of these conditions typically makes them easier and less costly to manage and can even be life-saving.
Commonly Used Terms
Copayment (also known as copay)
The fixed amount you pay for a covered service. You usually have a copay or coinsurance, but not both.
The fixed percentage you pay as your share of the cost of a covered service. Coinsurance kicks in after you meet any required deductible.
The most money a dental plan will pay for claims over a 12-month period.
The amount you must pay out-of-pocket before your plan begins to pay.
Get small concerns treated before they become big problems.
Visiting the dentist regularly means oral health issues will be addressed before they become more severe. That’s why most dental plans cover preventive services at 100 percent. Taking advantage of low-cost exams and cleanings can help you save money (and hassle) on more extensive
work down the road.
It makes unexpected dental work more affordable.
The unexpected can happen. If you need dental work you weren’t planning on – for example, to repair a chipped tooth or broken crown – a dental plan helps defray that cost. Without a dental plan, you would be responsible for the full treatment cost.
In addition to sharing the cost with your dental plan, you can save money by visiting in-network dentists.
1Seventy-five percent of adult consumers with dental benefits
reported they see the dentist at least once a year versus 41 percent
of those without dental >benefits, as reported in the
2Delta Dental 2017 Adult Oral Health Survey.
3Steven L. Bricker, Robert P. Langlais, and Craig S. Miller, Oral Diagnosis, Oral Medicine and Treatment Planning (Philadelphia: Lea & Febiger, 1994).
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Delta Dental of Missouri
12399 Gravois Road
St. Louis, MO 63127-1702
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(833) 830-8177 (Toll-Free)