If you have dental insurance, you should be sure that you’re aware of how to utilize your benefits to the fullest! However, this is usually easier said than done; amidst all of the paperwork to fill out, appointments to schedule, and everything else you need to juggle, it can sometimes be tough to get the most out of your coverage. Here are four tips from your dentist to help you maximize your dental insurance benefits and ensure that your smile gets the consistent care that it needs.
1. Seek Regular Preventive Dental Care
One of the best things you can do for your smile is visiting your dentist every six months for a checkup and cleaning. These routine visits give your dentist the opportunity to inspect your mouth for any undetected issues. It also allows them to thoroughly clean your teeth at a level you cannot do yourself; simply put, these visits go a long way towards protecting your smile from any long-term problems. That said, these visits are also often included in most dental insurance plans, although you might only be allowed a certain number of specific procedures. Be sure to attend all of your routine visits before the year ends and your benefits expire.
2. Know Your Benefits & When They Expire
Most dental insurance plans are based around the calendar year, meaning that in many cases, you’re given an annual maximum at the beginning of the year that will carry through the end of the year. This is the most your plan will pay for approved services, and anything leftover at the end of the year simply expires—typically there’s nothing that rolls over into the new year! This means that you should seek any necessary treatment before your coverage ends. Also be sure to know what your benefits actually include. Every policy is unique, but preventive and restorative care is often covered, as things like damaged teeth or gum disease can pose certain health risks.
3. Don’t Postpone Major or Necessary Care
In some cases, complex dental work can require multiple appointments to complete, meaning that it’s in your best interest to schedule them while you’re covered. If you need a certain treatment that exceeds your annual maximum, you can also consider scheduling part of it for the following calendar year—this way, you’re taking advantage of two separate annual maximums rather than just one.
4. Use a Flexible Spending Account
If you have a flexible spending account (FSA) through your employer, you can use it with your dental insurance policy, but you must be sure to use your remaining dollars by the end of the year. With an FSA, you can reduce your taxable income and put that money aside for healthcare expenses—this means you end up with more take home pay and more tax savings, which allows you to better plan for the cost of things like dental work.
Taking full advantage of your dental insurance benefits is an easy way to ensure that your smile is well-protected and looking its best throughout the whole year!
About the Author
A Tulsa native herself, Dr. Lindsey Hammond is thrilled to serve the dental needs of her hometown! Dr. Hammond received her dental doctorate from the University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry and is a proud member of several professional organizations including the American Dental Association and the Oklahoma Dental Association. Her practice is pleased to offer many available services including preventive, cosmetic, and restorative options. To schedule a visit, feel free to contact the practice online or by phone: (918) 254-8686.