If your employer offers dental benefits, you should consider yourself lucky. About 30% of households in Ontario who rely solely on their employment income, do not have dental benefits, and since most of those employees are in low-income jobs, access to dental care can be a challenge.
Your dental benefits are an important part of your overall compensation package – in some cases a package you’ve negotiated – and letting them go to waste is like leaving money on the table. You would never tell your employer not to pay you an extra $1,500-$6,000 dollars every year, so why would you let your benefits expire without taking advantage of them? It is essentially the same thing. And make no mistake, while your employer may offer you benefits, in doing so it takes money off the table for your potential salary increases.
If you are paying the premiums for your dental plan, you don’t want to let that money go to waste. It’s not only a waste of your money, but it is also straight profit into the hands of the insurance company, and they count on people to do that.
Employer sponsored dental benefits work on a ‘use them or lose them’ basis, usually by the calendar year. So, if December 31st rolls around and you haven’t made that appointment, you have lost your benefits for that yearly period.
This is good for the employer, good for the insurance company, and bad for you and your family. It can be especially frustrating if you discover in February that you, or someone in your family requires an expensive treatment that needs to be spread out over two benefit years.
Insurance companies count on the fact that people won’t use their benefits, and so does your employer. It is in your best interest to maximize the dental benefits you have.
It really depends on the size of your family and the amount of coverage you have. Let’s say for example you have a family of four, including yourself, and your coverage is for up to $1,500 per calendar year. That $1,500 is per person, and non-transferable. If you each use the max you are looking at $6,000 a year. That’s like adding an additional $115 per week, or $500 per month to your salary. But, only if you use your dental benefits before the year-end cut off.
Many people lose out on benefits because they don’t understand how their plan works or what they may be eligible for. Knowing how much coverage you are provided and for what procedures you are covered can help you fully utilize your plan.
Your insurance plan provider should provide this information for you, but we can help you find out what you have coverage for. And we can submit a pre-treatment estimate to your insurance provider for pre-approval if you have any doubts about what your dental coverage entails.
Your teeth very well may be fine, but you can use your benefits towards maintaining your already awesome oral health! Plus an x-ray can confirm that you are right and there is nothing going on beneath the surface.
And really, there is nothing better than the feeling of running your tongue over freshly scaled and polished teeth. You might as well keep your smile healthy while ensuring that you are leveraging your hard-earned dental benefit dollars.
Much of the most important work in dentistry is in preventative care. Dental benefits make regular check-ups affordable, so at the very minimum you should schedule two check-ups and cleanings every year. Some plans will require that there be a minimum of 6 months between these visits.
These check-ups will give the dentist the chance to catch any early signs of cavities or gum disease, examine your bite, screen for oral cancer, and take x-rays.
Any problems you have with bleeding gums, or tooth sensitivity can also be addressed during these appointments. And if there are any signs of tooth enamel wearing down, steps can be taken to rebuild it.
Preventative care also entails teeth whitening, closing any gaps between teeth, and repairing any chipped or broken teeth.
Finally, if you’re really good during your preventative check-ups and cleaning, you’ll get a toothbrush – along with some really great tips on how to use it. And floss – also with some really great tips on how to use it, plus a bonus reminder that daily flossing is essential to good dental health.
If your check-up reveals that you do in fact have larger issues, now is the perfect time to discover them. We can work with you to plan your treatment over the end of this year, into the beginning of next in order to fix any larger issues with your teeth, and maximize your yearly benefits, so you don’t end up here in February wishing that you had.
Missing your two check-ups and cleanings this year can come back to haunt you when a problem that you didn’t know you had suddenly becomes worse. By the time you are experiencing pain and need to come in for an emergency visit you will definitely end up with a more costly problem.
A routine cavity that could have been filled in one visit, can turn into a painful root canal that eats up most of your benefits in a couple of visits. Aside from the cost, you could have also avoided the pain altogether.