The History of Dental Insurance goes back 70 years and is a relatively new concept that emerged in the 1950s as a unique benefit for workers in limited industries. Over the decades, the availability of dental insurance increased, giving individuals access to improved dental care.
What Is Dental Insurance?
Dental insurance is a type of insurance coverage designed to give patients access to dental care. Today, many companies offer dental insurance plans as part of their benefits package. Most plans cover all or a portion of preventative care like dental cleanings.
Dental insurance also typically covers part of the cost of restorative dental care to treat decay or damage to the teeth or gums. Dental insurance usually does not cover cosmetic procedures, like teeth whitening and clear aligners.
How Did Dental Insurance Begin in the United States?
Labor unions opened the door to improved benefits for workers. According to HistoryLink.org, the International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union spent excess pension funds to create a prepaid dental care program for children of members.
The concept spread and expanded. As more employers provided dental care to workers, dental associations sprang up to manage the new opportunity. While today’s workers see dental insurance as a standard benefit, dental insurance started less than 100 years ago.
What Are the Benefits of Dental Insurance?
Before dental insurance, patients paid out of pocket for all dental expenses. In the past, patients would only visit the dentist when they experienced a problem, like a broken tooth or severe decay. The introduction of dental insurance gave patients affordable access to preventative care.
Dentists could address problems earlier and offer treatment solutions to save teeth instead of extractions. Dental care and research improved, giving patients additional treatment options.
Today, dental insurance offers patients many benefits.
- Preventative care costs covered at 100% for most plans
- Lower out-of-pocket costs for restorative treatment
- Insurance company negotiates lower fees with dentists
- Better oral health and overall wellness
- Early intervention
What Are the Limitations of Dental Insurance?
While dental insurance transformed dental care, dental insurance does have limitations. For example, most plans have an annual cap on the costs covered by the insurance plan. Even for preventative care, usually plans only pay for dental checkups every six months, with x-rays covered only once per year.
For most procedures, dental insurance only covers a portion of the costs. The patients must cover any remaining charges. Dental insurance typically only pays for dental health issues, like cavities, gum disease, or tooth damage.
Most dental insurance plans do not cover cosmetic or elective treatments. Patients with discolored, misshapen, or misaligned teeth must pay for corrective procedures without the help of insurance.
However, dental insurance still offers a good investment in health. Patients receive extraordinary benefits from regular dental checkups and cleanings. Plus, addressing cavities and other problems earlier gives dentists more treatment options to save and restore natural teeth.
Schedule Preventative Dental Care for Improved Oral Health
Take advantage of dental insurance. Schedule your preventative dental cleaning today. Children and adults who regularly visit the dentist have better oral health. Plus, patients with improved oral health also benefit from a better quality of life.
Poor oral health impacts the entire body. Your health is too important to compromise. Contact Atlanta Smiles to schedule an appointment.