Ask the Dentist: Is Dental Insurance Worth It?

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DENTAL insurance is becoming more and more popular with the great pressure on budgets and the challenges of accessing dental care – but how do you choose between all the different plans?

There are advantages to having dental insurance, in that you can spread the cost over the year instead of taking a bigger hit all at once and some policies cover both NHS and private dentistry.

Most insurance plans help you when it really matters, if you have an accident or a dental emergency like a toothache or if you develop oral cancer. But as usual, the devil is in the detail; there are usually grace periods, usually ranging from one to three months, that you must wait until the cover kicks in.

The most basic insurance plans are called maintenance plans and are offered by Denplan, Simply Health, and Boots. You normally pay a small amount a month – say £10 – which covers two examinations, two hygiene visits and x-rays each year. One of the benefits of these plans is that the insurer can help you find a dentist if you have a dental problem while on vacation.

The next step in the plans are capitation plans, where more salaries are fully or partially covered. If you are interested in capitation type insurance plans, your dentist will first assess your mouth and let you know the cost per month. If your mouth is more stable, insurance is less expensive than if you generally need a lot of treatments on an ongoing basis.

Then, there are very good private medical insurances that specify dental care. After consulting the dentist, there is an insurance form to be completed and the money claimed. Usually companies will pay up to a certain amount per year.

For example, a business may pay up to £800 in salary in a calendar year. There are many exceptions and companies tend not to cover dental treatments that are considered cosmetic like veneers, whitening or braces.

It is therefore essential to know exactly what you are signing up for and whether it meets your individual needs before you jump in.

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