As you get older, your health needs change – and in your golden years, you’re likely finding yourself at the doctor’s office more often. And your dental health is just as important as your overall health.
Regular dental care is crucial for aging adults, and choosing to skip that care because of its costs can seriously affect your health. You can take care of your teeth without spending a fortune if you have dental insurance.
If you’re wondering whether or not a dental insurance plan is the right choice for you, here’s why seniors shouldn’t skip out on coverage.
Seniors Can’t Afford to Skip Dental Services
It’s easy to assume that your visits to the dentist aren’t as important as checkups with your doctor. But as you get older, it becomes even more important that you’re proactive about your oral health.
Caring for your teeth can be costly, especially if you’re a senior paying out of pocket for every dental expense. While you might be tempted to skip your regular dentist’s visits because of the cost, doing so could leave you with increasingly expensive problems.
As you get older, you may begin to require more in-depth dental work. Putting off that dental work can cause bigger issues, like missing teeth, a need for bridges or dental implants, or oral surgery. Skipping the dentist in order to save money means you’re letting potential health issue get worse – and that could cost you both your health and a lot of money.
Neglecting to see the dentist regularly can leave you with health issues like untreated gum infections, dental decay, missing or rotting teeth, and an inability to eat comfortably¹. These problems can cause other health issues too, affecting conditions like diabetes, rheumatism, and heart disease².
With increasing health concerns during your senior years, you simply can’t afford to ignore your dental health – even if it does cost you money.
Medicare Doesn’t Cover Dental Work
One reason many seniors end up skipping their regular dental visits and care is because they aren’t expecting the costs. Senior Living³ reports that many seniors are surprised to learn that Medicare doesn’t cover dental care or treatment.
That’s right: Medicare won’t help with your dental expenses. Unless dental work is specifically required as part of another medical procedure, seniors can’t rely on Medicare to cover the cost. Medicare will only cover dental treatments if⁴:
- Your doctor requires dental exams before a kidney transplant or heart valve replacement.
- Dental work is required for a jaw disease or injury.You have a severe oral infection that requires you to be hospitalized.
- You have a life-threatening medical condition that requires dental work (which must be done in a hospital).
And if you thought that you could use Medicare to cover your dentist’s visits, you likely haven’t budgeted to pay for your own dental expenses. Fortunately, you do have options. You can get the cost of your dental exams, treatments, and procedures reduced – with dental insurance.
Dental Insurance Could Save You As Much As 100 Percent of Your Dental Costs
Are you wondering whether dental insurance is worth its cost? While you will have to pay a premium, you could pay significantly less for every visit you make to your dentist. In fact, you may even be able to see your dentist for free.
According to Senior Living⁵, dental insurance typically covers 100 percent of the cost of preventative dental care, 50 percent of the cost of basic dental needs, and 20 percent of the cost of restorative care.
That means for a low premium price, you could get your routine cleanings, checkups, and other preventive care without paying a penny. If you need fillings or root canals, or more serious dental work like bridges or a set of custom dentures, you’ll still save money. You’ll only have to pay a portion of the total cost.
Even for seniors on very limited incomes, this makes dental insurance a smart financial choice.
You Can Find Dental Insurance at an Affordable Price
Of course, the biggest concern for seniors is being able to afford dental insurance. And you’re right to be worried. Dental insurance, like health insurance, can be complicated – especially if you’re figuring it out for the first time.
Fortunately, there are a number of affordable options if you’re in search of dental insurance. Seniors can consider the following options for low-priced, budget-friendly plans:
- Medigap, which is a supplemental insurance plan that covers some Medicare co-pays and co-insurance costs. Not all Medigap covers dental, but you can search for add-ons that do.
- Medicare Advantage plans, which are private insurance plans available only to those who qualify for Medicare. You’ll get coverage for things that Medicare doesn’t traditionally cover, like dental needs.
- Dental discount plans, which aren’t dental insurance but instead a discount program for dental services. You pay a small fee to join the plan, and you’ll get a discount at the dentist.
With budget-friendly options like these, seniors don’t have to struggle to afford dental care. On average, Money Under 30⁶ reports that dental insurance costs just $15 to $50 per month. And that’s a small price to pay if you’re also saving on your treatments and any care you need.
Shop for dental insurance before you need to pay any more high prices for important dental work you need. All you need to do is find a dental insurance plan that covers the care you need for your budget.
1 SeniorLiving.org, Affordable Dental Care for Seniors 2 SeniorLiving.org, Affordable Dental Care for Seniors 3 SeniorLiving.org, Affordable Dental Care for Seniors 4 SeniorLiving.org, Affordable Dental Care for Seniors 5 SeniorLiving.org, Affordable Dental Care for Seniors 6 Money Under 30, Is Dental Insurance Worth It?