Dental Insurance: Maximize Your Dental Health
What do you want from your relationship with your dentist? Oftentimes, this question is answered when there is a dental problem or emergency requiring immediate attention. There is a different approach to your relationship with your dentist that relates to your own needs and the dental plan you have. This approach is designed to help you create the kind of experiences you want with your dentist.
You have a choice about this relationship and how it can support and assist you in your life. It begins with the simple question stated at the beginning of this article: What do you want from your relationship with your dentist? Are you just looking for a doctor who can take your dental plan? Or, do you want more?
The answer to this question can take many forms. For some people it may mean having a lot of information about their dental health and future. They seek facts to know they are making good, informed decisions. Others may want a friendly relationship in which openness and communication are valued.
They want information your dental plan, but more importantly, they want to know they are important to the dentist and the dental team. Some individuals want minimal information and discussion -- just the facts and the solutions to take care of any problem.
We all have different wants in our relationships with health professionals such as dentists. Here are five tips to assist you in deciding what you want in your relationship with your dentist:
- Do you want a lot of detailed information about actual problems or potential problems or do you prefer a quick summary of data with recommendations about what to do with you dental plan.
- Do you like to make quick decisions or do you prefer to think about things before you act?
- Do you like to talk about what is happening or do you prefer to have your dentist just tell you what is going on?
- Do you want the dentist to describe a problem situation and solution with pictures so you can see what it happening or do you prefer to go on gut feeling?
- Do you want to maximize your individual dental plan?
Each person looks for different things in their relationships. It is your responsibility to determine what you want and look for that in the relationship with your dentist. The answers to the questions above will tell you something about this.
The next step is communicating what you want so that you are understood. Only you know when someone else understands you. Here are four tips to assist you in this communication process:
- Tell your dentist that you have some ideas about how he or she can assist you with your dental insurance plan.
- Ask when it would be a good time to discuss your needs and desires for your dental care and relationship with your dentist.
- Communicate what you want and how that will help you.
- If you had a negative experience in the past with another dental professional, always discuss what happened. Past hurts or disappointments have a way of negatively influencing present situations that are similar in nature.
Communicating what you want is important to your dentist for it is the best way for him or her to maximize your dental plan for you.
By Brian DesRoches, PhD
Five Things To Know When Choosing a Dental Insurance Plan
You've heard time and again that dental insurance can protect you and your family from dental and financial catastrophe. Even cheap insurance with minimal coverage will most likely save you big bucks over the course of your lifetime. A quick Web search will show that insurance is big business, and your options are becoming more expansive - and complicated - by the day. Not sure where to begin? Here are five things to consider when selecting family dental plans or an individual dental insurance plan that works for you!
- Shop around! Finding a plan that works can be quite a feat. Even when employers offer dental insurance benefits to their employees and their families, it often isn't enough. This means you'll need to shop high and low until you find the best plan for your budget and lifestyle. The Internet has made all of this much easier - you have access to informational materials on a multitude of companies right at your finger tips. Be sure to read all the fine print; when it comes to your health, surprises are rarely a good thing.
- Know your limits. All insurance plans have maximums - some good, others bad. A low maximum on your total benefits is never a good thing. That means if something major (and expensive) comes up, you may have to delve into your own pockets. A second maximum applies to your yearly deductible, which is the most amount of money you'd be expected to pay for your own care. A low maximum on your deductible is a great thing, so be sure to do the math when comparing policies.
- Maintain control over your health. A dental insurance company may or may not have your best interests at heart, but, either way, they're somewhat removed from the situation. It's important that you have a say in your dental health. For starters, shouldn't you be able to choose your dentist, or at least have a plethora of options should one provider not work out? It's also important that you and your dentist have a lot of pull when it comes to making important decisions - an insurance company should never put unreasonable restrictions on the type of care you can receive.
- Look for the 3 R's (sort of): PRevention, Restoration and EmeRgency Care. Having access to these three types of dental care is critical for lifelong oral health. Preventive care reduces the likelihood that you'll develop a dental condition that could have been avoided. Restorative care ensures that things that do go wrong, such as damaged or decayed teeth, will be fixed. Finally, emergency care you'll receive the proper care when you need it immediately, such as if your tooth is knocked out. Some family dental plans cover other specialty care, like orthodontics, so consider your needs and go from there.
- The waiting game. Some insurance companies make you wait a certain period of time before they will cover certain procedures. If you need immediate attention, find a policy that supports it. If everything's in order, however, a minor wait may not be a major issue for you.
A carefully selected family or individual dental insurance plan could not only save you in a pinch, but ensure good oral health for life. It's critical, however, to do your research and read the fine print. Don't let your dental insurance company take you for a ride!