Published: 01/21/2019

Dental insurance is essential to patients’ healthcare journey. These policies make dental visits more affordable. They also allow patients to receive preventative treatments that help them avoid other oral problems.

In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn several dental insurance basics. You’ll also find out about financing options and plans available at Shore Smiles Dental.

Short-Term Costs Versus Long-Term Savings

Some people skip dental appointments because of the price. They may believe they’re saving money in the short run. Unfortunately, skipping dental treatments can end up costing them more in the future. People who don’t receive consistent dental care can experience more issues. They must also pay for advanced, invasive procedures. Untreated cavities can lead to nerve-related complications and tooth loss. These issues require multiple appointments. Preventative care is worth the extra time and money.

What is Dental Insurance?

Dental insurance form

Close up a dental benefits claim form with calculator and pen

Dental insurance policies cover routine and preventative treatment costs. They usually 50 percent for specific dental procedures like cavities fillings or crowns. Some policies pay for orthodontic treatments.

According to Forbes Magazine, most insurers provide $1,500 to $4,500 in maximum benefits every year. There may be an annual limit for each family member.

Selecting a Dental Insurance Plan Option

There are three types of insurance options: Dental HMOs, PPOs, and Indemnity plans.

  • Dental HMO Plans – Patients must pick an approved dentist within their HMO plans network. These plans are perfect for patients who can find network dentists that can perform a specific procedure. Under an HMO, you may not have a deductible. Instead, patients may need to provide a copay for each visit. Some patients can’t find a network dentist to provide the services they need. If they can’t locate an HMO dental provider to offer the services they need, they must go outside of the network. Their insurance policies won’t cover the costs of these procedures. In-network providers offer a 10 to 35 percent discount over out-of-network providers.
  • Dental PPO – These are the most popular dental option. The plans offer a list of in-network dentists. Insurance companies pay a portion of costs for patients that visit out-of-network providers. Members aren’t restricted to a specific network region. There are deductibles and benefit maximums with many PPO policies. They also cover a percentage of major and minor dental procedures.
  • Dental Indemnity Plans – These insurance policies allow patients to see any dentist, regardless if they belong to the network. These plans pay a specific amount for the cost of dental procedures. Unfortunately, patients should watch for out-of-network dentists who may charge any price.

Dental Discount Plans

Dental plans aren’t insurance policies that cover the dental procedures. Instead, they lower the rates for treatments. Patients won’t have to wait for benefits, and there are no deductibles. Some cost an average of $100 per person or $150 for a family each year.

People who need extensive dental work should consider insurance since the projected costs can take away any benefits these plans offer. Always research every dental plan before you make a decision.

Learning About Your Dental Insurance Coverage

Dental insurance policies are confusing for many patients. Most people don’t know which procedures their insurance covers. Nor do they what fees they’re responsible for paying. Our friendly office staff helps patients decipher your dental coverage.

Our seasoned staff has worked with a variety of dental plans. We can tell patients which treatments and procedures their insurance covers. We’ll also give an estimate about any out-of-pocket costs to expect.

What Procedures Do Dental Insurance Plans Cover?

Most employers structure insurance to offset some of the costs of dental care. The policies provide patients with optimal health through routine examinations and cleanings. These plans typically don’t cover the entire costs of procedures.

Insurers offer two types of coverage for basic and extended insurance policy options.

Basic Dental Insurance Policies

Dental insurance policies differ in the benefits they offer to patients. Basic plans (like employer-provided PPOs) cover 70 to 100 percent of costs for the following procedures.

  • Annual checkups
  • Dental cleanings (biannual)
  • Fluoride treatments for children
  • Sealants for children
  • Root canals
  • Fillings

Extended Insurance Policy Options

Many dental insurance plans offer several tiers to policyholders. Basic options cover preventative care. They don’t cover more expensive treatments. Extended dental insurance will pay for advanced procedures depending on the coverage.

These policies may cover the following treatments.

  • Crowns
  • Bridges
  • Referrals to orthodontic specialists
  • Orthodontic coverage for braces
  • Partial Dentures
  • Veneers

Are Dental Implants Covered by Insurance Policies?

dental insurance covers dental implants

Dental model showing teeth, roots, gums, gum disease, tooth decay and plaque.

Dental insurance policies cover routine exams, dental emergencies, and standard dental care. There are maximum amounts for what patients can spend every year range between $1,000 to $1,500.

Most policies don’t cover dental implants. These plans pay for alternative treatments like dentures or partials. They may also cover diagnostic procedures and extractions that patients need before they receive implants.

Implants generally cost $3,000 – $4,500 and this price includes every treatment component. Medicare plans cover dental implants.

What If I Don’t Have Insurance?

Shore Smiles allows people to save money for future procedures that their insurance plans may not cover. These include dental treatments like bridges and implants. Our practice also offers a variety of financing options.

Shore Smiles Dental Financing Plans

Shore Smiles Dental has a variety of interest-free and extended-payment plans. Patients can select from three-to-24 month financing options offered by CareCredit and The Lending Club Financing.

CareCredit Financing

CareCredit is an exclusive healthcare service credit card. The company has a monthly payment plan for dental procedures not covered by insurance. This creditor allows patients to make monthly payments. Additionally, these charges will not end up on your primary credit card.

Patients can also use this card to pay for additional dental services for yourself or relatives in the Shore Smiles practice.

The CareCredit Card Benefits are:

  • Minimum monthly payments
  • No upfront costs or prepayment penalties.

The Lending Club Interest-Free Financing

Shore Smiles offers flexible payment plans through The Lending Club Patient Solutions. This financing option allows patients to calculate their potential monthly payments. You can complete a short application that displays fees and fixed rates available with the Lending Club’s Extended Plans. This option doesn’t impact your credit score.

This interest-free financing solution offers:

  • No initial payments for three to seven weeks
  • Plans with low fixed rates and affordable monthly payments. These don’t change over the life of the loan.
  • We offer patient-friendly, no-interest plans with zero retroactive interest.
  • No upfront payments
  • No prepayment penalties
  • Patients can calculate monthly payment options

For more information, contact a Shore Smiles Dental staff member.

About Shore Smiles Dental

At Shore Smiles, we strive for pain-free dentistry and the best possible outcome for our patients. You can expect comfortable procedures and the latest technology from our practice. Maintain your dental health by scheduling an appointment with Shore Smiles Dental. Contact us for a free consultation today.

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