As I write this, we're heading into the end of September, and although it doesn’t seem like you should have to think about using your dental benefits this early, now is the best time to do so—particularly if you’re thinking of having crowns, partials or dentures made because those procedures take several visits and often need to be finished by the end of the year if you want them to go on this year’s benefits.
It's especially important this year since our appointments are booked out almost 4 weeks in advance. Right now, we are booking end of October for routine visits. (If you have a true dental emergency, we will try to fit you in earlier.). Consider that a removable appliance takes 3 to 4 visits to complete (with a week or two between each visit) and a crown takes at least 2 vists about 3 weeks apart. You can see that for removable appliances you need to call now to set up a start date to be sure it's done by the end of 2020!
What are some other reasons you might want to schedule dental care before the end of the year?
- Most insurance plans have a deductible. This is the amount you pay each year before your insurance pays anything. If you’ve already paid your deductible this year, and you wait until next year to have more treatment done, you will have to pay your deductible again. If you’ve already paid your deductible for this year, it only makes sense to try to complete any other dental work that you need before the end of the year so that you don’t have to pay your deductible again.
- Many dental insurance benefits are based on a calendar year. Unused benefits don’t roll over, so once January 1, 2021 comes along, those benefits are lost to you forever.
- If your employer is taking money out of your pay for your insurance coverage, not using it is like throwing money down the drain. Even if you don’t have much extra money, there are several treatment categories that shouldn’t cost you much if anything.
- Check ups and professional cleanings prevent dental disease from taking hold. Most dental insurances will cover your check ups and cleanings twice a year with no out of pocket expense to you. If you’ve only had one in 2020, give us a call to see if your insurance will cover a second one before the end of the year. (Check-ups and Cleaning may not have a deductible. NOTE: Some insurances do only cover 1 of these in a specific period such as 1 every 6 months--in which case you might not be able to get a second one this year. Due to COVID though, some insurances have relaxed that rule for 2020 only.)
Dental x-rays help your dentist see areas of your teeth that aren’t visible in your mouth. One type looks for cavities in between your teeth and is often covered once or twice a year. Another shows an overview of your entire mouth and allows your dentist to check bones, unerupted teeth, and roots of teeth; it is covered every three to five years.
Protective tooth coatings called sealants are another procedure that is often covered for children with no out of pocket expense to the parents. Sealants are most often placed on adult molars which come in at ages 6 and 12. The sealant material fills pits and grooves on the tooth’s chewing surfaces, making it hard for food and bacteria to stick and cause cavities. If your child has not had sealants or you’re not sure if he or she has had sealants, give us a call.
Here in the United States, we tend to take our dental health for granted. If you have a family member who hasn’t seen the dentist in a while because he or she doesn’t have dental insurance or “can’t afford it”, why not give them the gift of dental health during the holiday season. We can hold a payment toward the visit or provide you with a gift certificate for dental care that you can give to them.
Contact us by calling 440-960-1940 or by using the contact form on our website www.drjrobb.com You can also ask questions of Dr. Robb on her facebook page at www.facebook.com/DrJenniferRobb
Jennifer G. Robb DMD is located at 1320 Cooper Foster Park Rd., Lorain, OH 44053.
NOTE: Information in this article is not meant to replace the judgement of your healthcare professionals.