Dental benefits first became available in 1974. Back then, the average benefit coverage was $1,000. Does that sound familiar? If you have dental coverage it probably does because the average dental benefit in 2012 is about $1,000.
To put that into perspective, in 1974, a brand new Mustang cost about $2500. Today, a 2013 Mustang starts at $22,200!
What this means for patients is you need to know what your dental insurance covers and up to how much. Then, when you visit the dentist for more than a cleaning or check-up, ask him or her if your dental plan covers the procedure. Or, how much will it cost out of pocket.
For example, some people prefer composite fillings, which are white, compared to the traditional amalgam fillings. There is a price differential between the two filling types, composite are more expensive. Most insurance plans will not cover the difference. Consequently, many people who want composite fillings end up paying $50 or more out of pocket.
That’s not to be completely critical of dental insurance plans. Many of the most severe problems patients come to me could have been avoided with better daily care on their part and regular trips to the dentist for check-ups. And dental insurance, if nothing else, does make it easier for people to get to the dentist regularly. But if you need more than a check up, a call to your dental insurance provider about what’s covered is a great start.