Did you know that in Canada, about 2.6 million school days are missed every year because of dental-related illnesses? In fact, tooth decay accounts for one-third of all day surgeries performed on children between the ages of 1 and 5.
Around the world, 60-90% of school-aged children suffer from tooth decay. And almost 100% of adults around the world also suffer from tooth decay.
The World Health Organization recognizes oral health as a basic human right. This means that every human should be able to live free from any mouth or facial pain, oral infection, sores, gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss.
But the truth is that 35% of the world's population is suffering from tooth decay whereas only 8% of the population suffers from diabetes.
So why do we put our teeth last? Dental work can really break the bank, with the average root canal costing around a thousand dollars.
If you're still asking yourself, "Should I get dental insurance?" The answer is yes! Keep reading to learn about why you should definitely have a dental plan.
What Are We Spending Without It?
It's estimated that Canadians spend about $12 billion a year on dental services and procedures. There are about 6 million Canadians who avoid the dentist altogether.
The cost of a dental implant in Canada, on average, is between 1 and 6 thousand dollars whereas, in Mexico, it's around $700. And 32% of Canadians don't have any dental insurance.
In fact, a lot of Canadians have been going to other countries to have their dental work done. Dental tourism is a real thing. Countries like Mexico and Costa Rica are hot spots for Canadians to get their dental work done, while on vacation.
Even though Canada offers free health care for all, dental plans are not included in this provision.
Curb Your Anxiety
Maybe people don't get dental insurance because they don't want to pay for it.
But think about thousands and thousands of dollars you might end up spending should your teeth require a few procedures. These costs will most definitely outweigh the costs of dental care.
You might not have any pain at all in your mouth or your teeth. So do you need dental insurance? The answer is YES! You do. It's a misconception that pain should be the indicator that something is wrong.
More often than not, tooth decay and cavities don't cause any pain at all. In fact, if you're experiencing pain, chances are that something has gone too far. You might need a root canal, or worse, a tooth removal. And these are some of the procedures that drain our pockets.
The thing about mouth or face pain is that it consumes your body and mind and makes it hard to perform everyday tasks and activities.
Anyone who's ever been there knows that in that state of pain, we'll do or pay ANYTHING to get rid of it. That's why so many people spend their savings or rack up credit card debt to pay for procedures that could and should have been avoided in the first place!
Preventative Care Is Key
Part of the reason why many people avoid dental insurance altogether is that it doesn't necessarily cover the big stuff. People can't convince themselves to pay for dental insurance when they'll end up having to fork out money anyway.
But might be the wrong way to look at things because there are many options that can and will save you tons of money.
First of all, let's think about preventative care for a moment. Most dental insurance plans will cover preventative care which means a check-up (with x-rays) and cleaning once or twice a year.
Many insurance plans cover the cost of 2-3 cavities per year. And if you're taking proper care of your teeth, that's all you'll ever need. Part of the reason why people end up spending thousands on dental procedures is that they neglected their teeth in the first place.
Even though it doesn't seem like much, going to the dentist every 6 months to remove plaque and give your teeth a deep cleaning can do wonders for your future mouth and your future bank account.
And if you do end up needing an expensive procedure, chances are that your dental plan will help you cover at least part of the cost.
What Plans Are There?
Let's take a look at some of the dental plans available for Canadians. Great-West Life covers over 13 million Canadians.
They have a couple of different options that offer 80-90% coinsurance.
Sonata Health offers plans for both individuals and families. Their Core plan, which is the most basic of their 3 options, provides 70% reimbursement for typical visits to the dentist.
AND, the maximum yearly amount that can be spent on dental care is $350 per person.
SureHealth Zone is perfect for part-timers and freelancers. They have great customer service and offer a variety of different plans and maximums.
Click here to read more about plans that are offered in Canada.
What Will Your Costs Be?
In looking at a dental insurance plan, there are 3 costs you will have to consider. Premiums are what you pay monthly for the dental plan that you've chosen.
A deductible is what you must pay before your insurance will start covering costs for you. However, preventative care and a few cavities are not included, meaning you should pay next to nothing for your routine checkups and cleanings.
Co-payment/co-insurance is what you might pay for seeing a specialist or after your deductible is met. For example, you might have to pay a $20 co-pay every time you see a specialist such as an orthodontist. Or you might have to pay 20% of all costs incurred after your deductible has been met.
40 dollars a month might seem like a lot, but in the grand scheme of things, it's not. Plus, many individuals only pay $20 a month, depending on the plan that they've chosen. Making the choice to sign up for a dental plan is definitely worth the cost.
The fact that poor oral health has been linked to chronic health conditions like diabetes and respiratory disease is indicative of why health insurance is important.
Peace of Mind
If nothing else, you should get dental insurance for your peace of mind. Many of us avoid the dentist for months or even years on end. And why do we? Often times it's for the dental anxiety that plagues between 9% and 20% of Americans.
But for a lot of individuals, a trip to the dentist is avoided because of the cost. But you don't have to feel that way. If you sign up for a dental plan, at least you know what your costs will be, even in a worst-case scenario.
And as long as you're keeping up with regular visits and your personal preventative care, you should never have to face one of those big costs. But if you do, at least you know what percentage of it will be covered.
If you have a yearly out-of-pocket maximum, you can go to the dentist as much as you'd like for as many procedures as you need, and you can rest easy knowing that you'll only ever spend as much as that out-of-pocket maximum.
What Can You Do for Your Teeth?
In addition to purchasing dental insurance, there are some things you can do on your own to help avoid those costly procedures. A few ways you can take care of your teeth and perform your own preventative care are by making the following activities part of your daily routine:
- Brush your teeth 2 times a day
- Floss between your teeth AT LEAST once a day
- Cut down on sugary foods, drinks, and carbs if you know you won't be able to brush for a while
- Don't smoke or chew tobacco
And most importantly, pay attention! If you feel any sort of pain or discomfort, get to a dental professional right away. And if you can't wait, you could potentially sign up for a dental plan that day.
Should I Get Dental Insurance?
If you're still asking yourself, "Should I get dental insurance?" the answer is still YES! You could save yourself thousands of dollars in dental bills just by committing to paying $10-$50 a month for a dental plan.
You'll receive the care that you need to keep your mouth healthy. And in doing so, you have a much better chance of avoiding any scary or costly procedures in the future.
You'll be protecting yourself from other potential chronic health conditions that can arise from poor oral health.
Do you need more reasons to acquire dental insurance? Check out our blog on all things dental insurance.