Most of us realize the importance of regular brushing, flossing, and dentist appointments, but how many of us actually stick to what is recommended? Unfortunately, not enough, according to different studies and reports.
For example, three out of ten millennials said they only brush their teeth once a day in a 2,000-person study published online by the NYPost. Besides costs, a big reason why people avoid the dentist is out of fear. According to the same study, one-third of those questioned would also spend a whole day at work than have to sit in a dentist’s chair. It’s not surprising then that about 30-40% of adults in the US hadn’t had a dental visit in the past year, according to stats from the CDC.
While it’s true that dental insurance can lower the costs of check-ups and procedures, quite a few people have trouble finding a plan that strikes a balance between price and coverage. The result? About 74 million Americans or 23% don’t have any dental insurance, according to USA Today and the National Association of Dental Plans. But even those with health insurance from their job don’t always get dental benefits. Estimates are that about 20% of these people have health insurance with inadequate dental coverage that leaves them vulnerable.
The numbers clearly show that a good dental plan is correlated with better overall health. You’re less likely to have cavities or more serious dental problems the better your insurance. The complications from poor hygiene and not going to the dentists for regular check-ups include painful toothaches that get worse with time, painful gums and gum bleeding due to periodontal disease, and lost teeth – all of which require costly and painful procedures to fix. For example, a single dental implant with a base and crown can cost about $4,000 in the US. This is a huge amount compared to the effort and costs of regular oral hygiene and dental check-ups, which we hope everyone can see before it’s too late.
Those without dental benefits but otherwise on a company-provided medical plan should seek out an additional plan. Luckily, many individual dental insurance policies are available. But before you sign-up, there are a few important things you should have in mind or risk having a plan that can leave you high and dry when you need help the most.
For starters, if you have already found a good dentist who does good work, make sure to find a plan that they accept. Otherwise, you might need to switch to an in-network dentist and lose any potential savings a plan might give you. Before signing up for insurance, feel free to ask your dentists what companies they work with and, in general, for their advice.
Secondly, besides considering what you want, also think about what your dependents or family might need. It’s not the same if you’re shopping just for yourself or if you need dental coverage for your wife and children or even elderly parents. Those with children will want to get dental insurance that will also cover pediatric dentistry or geriatric dentistry for senior citizens on your plan.
Apart from that, you should also think about whether you or your kids will need orthodontic services in the future. Besides malocclusions or “bad bites,” many people need braces and correction because of overcrowding, overlapping, and crooked teeth. When you factor in that the average price of braces for your child can cost between $2,000 and $8,000, according to WebMD, it becomes obvious that it’s important to find a plan with good coverage and benefits.
With that said, we believe it is crucial to find a plan that lets you find the right balance between out-of-pocket payments and monthly premiums. Some people choose the plan with the smallest premiums automatically and then are stunned when they realize how much they have to spend before their insurance finally kicks in. It is worth it to spend a little bit more every month and end up paying a lot less in the long run.
We know that finding the best individual dental insurance is something that you shouldn’t rush, so try to take your time if you can. After all, there’s nothing worse than being locked-in by contract into a bad plan. The best way to discover different options, as well as compare the pros and cons, is to start searching online. There’s no quicker or more informative way.
- “Millennials are terrible at keeping their teeth clean,” New York Post, Sam Paul, 23 February, 2018,
- “Oral and Dental Health,” CDC,
- “The Basics of Braces,” KidsHealth, Larissa Hirsch,
- “ Children and Orthodontics,” WebMD, https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/children-and-orthodontics#3-12