Oral Health Spotlight

Five Ways to Maximize Your Dental Benefits Before the End of the Year

Having dental benefits contributes to better oral health, overall health and well-being.  Our 2018 Oral Health and Well-Being Survey found that people with dental benefits are 58 percent more likely to visit the dentist, which leads to better oral health.  Consequently, people who reported excellent oral health were twice as likely to report very good or excellent physical well-being.1 Here are five ways you can maximize your dental benefits before the end of the year for the sake of your smile and overall health.

Getting Preventive Dental Care Avoids More Costly Treatment

Regular preventive care allows the dentist to spot and treat oral health issues early, helping you avoid costly and serious dental problems in the future.  Plus, most dental plans cover preventive dental care, such as cleanings, exams and X-rays, at little or no cost to you.

Oral and Overall Health are Linked

Your oral health is connected to your overall health. Studies show that gum disease is linked to numerous health conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease. In fact, more than 120 diseases can be detected by the dentist during a routine dental exam.2, 3 Dental visits can lead to early detection of serious conditions and should be a part of your overall wellness regimen.

Visiting a Delta Dental PPO Dentist Saves You Money

With Delta Dental of Illinois, you are free to go to any licensed dentist. However, you will save the most money by visiting a dentist in the Delta Dental PPO network. Delta Dental PPO network dentists agree to accept Delta Dental’s established fees as payment in full, which means they can’t bill you for the difference between what they would usually charge and the Delta Dental PPO established fee. On average, the Delta Dental PPO established fees are 30 percent less than a dentist’s usual fee, saving you money. Out-of-network dentists can charge you the difference between their usual fee and the Delta Dental PPO fee, leading to higher out-of-pocket costs for you.

You Can Use Your Flexible Spending Account Dollars for Dental Expenses

If you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) through your employer, be sure to use your remaining dollars before the end of the year.  Most dental expenses are eligible FSA healthcare expenses.  With an FSA, you reduce your taxable income and put that money aside for healthcare expenses.  When you use tax-free dollars to pay for these expenses, you have more take home pay, significant tax savings and more control over your family budget, which allows you to plan for expenses, like dental work, in the coming year.

Your Dental Plan Benefits May Start Over in January

With the year coming to an end, it’s important to review your dental benefits and know what is covered under your plan, your remaining annual maximum available and when your dental benefits start over.  Dental plans are either by calendar year or by plan year.  If your dental benefits are by calendar year, they will renew January 1, meaning you’ll have to pay your deductible again after the first of the year.  Your annual maximum will also reset at the beginning of your dental plan year, so depending on your plan, you may lose part of your annual maximum allotment from the previous year if you didn’t visit the dentist.

Get the most out of your dental benefits before the end of the year and schedule a visit with your dentist.  It will help your start 2019 with a healthy smile, better overall health and more money in your pocket.

For more information on how you can maximize your dental benefits, visit our Dental 101 section of our website.

Delta Dental of Illinois, “Oral Health and Well-Being Survey,” 2018
2 U.S. Surgeon General Report on Oral Health, Chapter 3: Diseases and Disorders, 2000
3 World Health Organization, Application of the International Classification of Diseases to Dentistry and Stomatology: ICD-DA, 1995

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