By Susan Braden
Getting dentures is not a simple procedure. In fact, it involves a great deal of dental work. Most individual and group insurance does not cover this restorative procedure, even if it is necessary in order to take the place of missing or decayed teeth. Because the procedure can be expensive, it is definitely worth your while to do everything you can to find affordable dental coverage for your dentures.
Take some time to learn the basics about dental insurance. In general, there are two types: preventive and restorative.
Preventive refers to check-ups, cleanings, and other care that is designed to maintain the health of your teeth and gums.
Restorative, on the other hand, describes such interventions as endodontics, periodontics, orthodontics and implants. Getting dentures falls into this category.
Now that you have a layperson’s knowledge about dental insurance, you need to learn specifically about your own coverage. Unfortunately, many patients know little or nothing about the details of their plan, especially when it comes to what procedures will be covered and to what extent. Now that you know you need dentures, you should ask your insurer’s member services department if they will be covered. Usually, dentures fall under the umbrella of “major care.” If you are fortunate, your plan might pay for up to 50% of the cost.
If you’re going to get dentures, one of the primary considerations is cost.
To get dentures, there is pre-denture work (extractions, fitting), the actual dental device itself (complete dentures, partial dentures) and then the upkeep (refitting, making corrections, etc.), which you can find more information about in the Careington 500 fee schedule.
The dental device itself can range anywhere from $1,400 and $2,000 (per piece—lower or upper) without dental insurance, depending on the type of denture you need and the state you live in.
If your current plan falls short, you might have to do some scrambling. If your coverage is furnished by your employer, ask when the next open enrollment window is and see if there are other companies who provide better dental coverage for dentures. If so, seriously consider switching. Talk to your employer and learn about all of your options. Even if you must buy your own individual coverage, you may save money in the long run.
Another valuable avenue you can pursue as you seek as much information as possible about sources of dental coverage is the Internet. With the help of search engines like Yahoo! And Google, you can search the worldwide web to learn about companies both large and small. Often, consumers have taken the time to post reviews which, while they must be taken with a grain of salt, can furnish information and insight.
There truly is nothing like face-to-face or phone-to-phone conversation when it comes to getting the facts and understanding them. That is why your next step should be to speak to a local insurance agent or helpful representative about the various options available to you. Explain specifically that you need to get dentures and are looking for dental coverage that will pay as much as possible of the cost. Together, you might find that your best option is an HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) and that you will need to choose a dentist within the HMO’s network to provide your care. On the other hand, you might choose a PPO (preferred Provider Organization), which allows you to have more freedom of choice when it comes to who will provide your dentures.
If you think you have found the plan that's right for you , take as much time as you need to investigate all of its fine print. Remember, this will be your dental coverage for at least the next year and it must make sense for your overall care, not just for your denture procedure. Be very clear in your understanding of all out-of-pocket expenses and up-front costs. The more you know now, the less likely is the chance for nasty surprises later.
Before you commit yourself to any dental insurance, you should also investigate one final method of helping to cover the costs of your dentures. Dental discount plans like the Careington 500 Series plan are an increasingly popular alternative to traditional dental insurance. They enable patients to save a great deal of money for a very low monthly price. Large groups of dentists have agreed to provide patients with high-quality, lower-priced services, including dentures.
Having your teeth extracted and then being fitted for dentures is a major procedure. It is costly and time-consuming, and you absolutely should feel good about the dentist who gives you your new dentures. Learning all you can about your dental coverage from and saving as much money as possible will go a long way toward making getting dentures much easier.