What They Are and How They’ll Save You Money
Regular dental care is key to maintaining overall good health and quality of life. The mouth is the window to the body, medically speaking, and gaps in oral health can both signal and lead to disease in the rest of the body. As bones and teeth grow older and weaken, they need more preventative and restorative care. Seniors are in need of more frequent and expensive procedures than younger adults but are confronted by greater obstacles to obtaining necessary dental health care because of the prohibitive cost and limited availability of dental insurance.
The importance of oral health and regular preventative care cannot be understated. Periodontal, or gum, disease is linked to diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Research has also found that more than 90 percent of all systemic diseases have oral symptoms, including but not limited to: swollen gums, mouth ulcers, dry mouth, and additional gum problems. Your dentist may be the first person to diagnose such illnesses in their early stages, so keeping up with biannual checkups and cleanings can prevent higher costs down the road. Though many think of dry mouth as a normal side effect of aging, it can cause tooth decay if left untreated. As much as 45 percent of 65-year-olds have cavities in the roots of their teeth, and the number only increases with age. The condition of dry mouth, however, is easily treatable through simple behavioral, dietary, or medication changes and regular dental care.
Seniors in particular face unique challenges to accessing and affording dental care because Medicare does not include dental coverage unless a medical problem arises from it. Though it may cover extractions, Medicare will not cover routine checkups, cleanings, fillings, or dentures. And individual insurance plans typically cap out at a maximum of $1000 in payments for the year, which will cover cleaning and checkups but not much else. Fillings can cost $50 to $450 per tooth, depending on the type of filling and number of surfaces, dentures range from $300 to $8,000 or more for a full set, and related extractions and implants can be $75 to $3,500 or more. The procedures are rarely elective and must be performed sooner rather than later, which deprives consumers of the luxury of time to shop around, to put away money for it, or to pay off the cost of a procedure once it is complete.
The ever rising average cost of living makes it difficult to visit the dentist as often as necessary, but oral health care must be a priority in everyone’s life. It is especially important for seniors, as they need more attentive care and consideration for their individual needs. Because dental insurance plans for seniors are subject to skyrocketing premiums and sometimes not even offered after a certain age, and Medicare does not cover regular visits to the dentist, a supplemental dental discount program can help ease the burden of the cost of dental care. Dental discount programs work alongside or in place of Medicare, Medicaid, and other dental insurance plans to help lower the cost of oral health procedures. These plans can lower the cost of dental procedures by up to 60 percent and will not interfere with or affect any existing coverage.
Left untreated, the cost of dental related health problems can soar to thousands of dollars, creating an unnecessary and impossibly painful strain on families and individual’s budgets and health. Dental discount programs are available for an affordable yearly payment and can be applied to a variety of procedures with many providers to lower the cost by 15 percent or more. They provide easy to use membership cards, little to no waiting period to use them, and no difficult paperwork or complicated application forms. They offer the benefits of low cost dental coverage without the hassle of typical insurance plans. There are multiple options for dental discount programs tailored to meet individual needs and are available to access online.