Understand Your Dental Benefits Before They Expire

IMPORTANT REMINDER: Almost all employer-sponsored dental insurance benefit plans typically reset their annual maximum on January 1st. Keep in mind, most of the time the money already paid into your plan doesn’t get refunded or applied towards the following year. When your plan renews at the beginning of the year, the unused money in the plan will be gone. This is why it is SO important to check how your plan works! If your plan renews entirely on January 1st and you still have benefits available, you should schedule your next dentist appointment ASAP.

When you opt into a dental plan, you are effectively paying for a number of dental appointments. If you don’t schedule your appointment, you are basically paying for something you are not using! It’s like buying something you really want, like ice cream, then just throwing it in the trash can instead of eating it. However in this scenario, the ice cream is a dental procedure. Obviously it’s not a perfect comparison, but you get the idea. Below we have provided you with four very important dental procedures that you could use your benefits toward.

CLEANING

It is recommended to schedule a professional teeth cleaning appointment at least once every six months. It doesn’t matter how well you take care of your smile, everyone can benefit from a dental cleaning from a hygienist. When you eat starchy or sugary food, plaque builds up naturally inside your mouth. Food coats your teeth and tends to wedge itself into hard-to-reach areas. As time progresses, the plaque can harden into tartar, which can’t be removed with your toothbrush or floss. Tartar can lead to gingivitis, cavities and other severe dental issues. 

When you get a dental cleaning professional done by a hygienist, they will remove any tartar causing build up inside your mouth. Scalers and other devices are used to reach those difficult to reach areas. Your hygienist will help you identify ways you can clean and care for your teeth during your visit. After your cleaning is complete, you can feel assured that your mouth is clean, healthy, and hygienic. Almost all dental insurance benefit programs cover preventative care such as dental cleanings.  

EXAM AND X-RAYS

Exams and x-rays are a vital part of ensuring long term dental health. Your dentist will check your teeth, gums, and mouth during your exam. They look for gum recession, cavities, diseases, signs of cancer, and other signs of tooth damage. The best way to determine potential dental problems is to have regular dental checkups. This can prevent a more serious problem in the future. It is extremely important to schedule your dental exam/check up every six months. 

Typically, x-rays are only necessary once per year, unless you are having an emergency. X-rays offer more information than what meets the eye. 

  • Allows your dentist to view parts of your jaw, teeth, and mouth that cannot be seen otherwise.
  • Identifies potential problems that are not visible to the naked eye. 
  • Over-time, comparing your previous x-rays to current ones can help you and your Dentist see how these problems develop. 
  • Getting updated x-rays will help your dentist get a complete picture of your dental health and history overall. 

FILLINGS

A filling is one of the most common dental procedures, simply because cavities are so common. When tooth decay creates a hole in the enamel, a cavity is formed in the tooth. When a cavity goes on treated, it makes the inner dentin of your tooth vulnerable to further decay, disease, or structural damage. 

A filling is done to treat a cavity by literally filling them. The filling helps restore the tooth back to its original complete structure. Not only does a filling correct a cavity, it will also prevent your tooth from further damage. 

Fillings are typically pretty quick to place and are generally covered by dental insurance benefits. Tooth-colored fillings can blend in with the color of your teeth to make them nearly invisible. A filling typically only takes a single appointment which lasts about an hour. Patients are instructed to wait until the numbness goes away to drink or eat anything. 

Even though cavity fillings are small, it is important to get them taken care of immediately. If you leave a cavity alone without fixing it, they get worse. Fixing the problem immediately can help prevent larger dental issues later on. This gives you all the more reason to use up your dental benefits. 

CROWNS

Dental crowns are another very common procedure to treat a variety of dental issues. Crowns are considered a prosthetic “cap” which fits over the damaged tooth in order to help restore it. A crown is used to repair or hold together broken or cracked teeth, replace chipped enamel, and more. Crowns help protect damaged teeth by encasing what is remaining of the tooth above the gumline. They are typically the easiest and least intrusive way to restore a damaged tooth.

Similar to other procedures on this list, crowns may often help prevent the need for more aggressive treatment. If your dentist recommends a crown, it typically means that your tooth’s structure has been compromised in some way. Keep in mind, sometimes crowns are necessary just for cosmetic purposes. If the damage goes untreated, the tooth can only get worse. And as time progresses, serious permanent damage without treatment can lead to the tooth needing to be extracted. Many dental insurance benefit plans cover crowns since they are important and necessary. If you believe you need a crown, make sure you see your dentist right away.

CONCLUSION

These four procedures are very common and are just a few examples of how you can utilize your remaining dental benefits. If you believe you are up to date on your dental health, it is worth contacting your dentist to double check for you. You’ve already paid for it after all!

East Orlando Dental works with many different dental insurance plans. We make it a priority to make sure you understand what is covered while receiving the best dental service possible. If you are searching for a Dentist that works with your dental plan, give us a call! We want to urge you not to wait – you don’t want to miss out on the benefits you’ve earned this year!

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