What's the Difference Between Preventative and Restorative Dental Insurance?

Posted on February 22, 2021

Did you know dental procedures have different categories? It's true. Insurance companies place major prosthodontics and preventative dental services under different classifications.

Are you confused? Don't worry! Insurdinary is here to help you find the dental coverage that's right for you. 

We'll explain all the important differences between preventative dental and restorative dental procedures. Read on to learn more.

Restorative & Preventative Dental Procedures - What's the Difference?

Preventative Dental Procedures

Preventative dental care is how you keep your teeth shiny and white.

When you visit the dentist's office for a check-up, you receive diagnostic care like x-rays and exams to see if there are any problems you're not aware of.

Preventative procedures include preventive dental care like regular teeth cleanings.

Preventive dental care stops the development of tooth decay and gingivitis. These are Canada's most common dental diseases.

Restorative Dental Procedures

People decline to pay for dental insurance for many reasons, and none of them are wrong.

Some people feel dental insurance is too expensive at certain points in their lives. Who can blame them? Everyone's experience with financial insecurity is different.

Others don't want to invest in dental insurance plans with high out of pocket for major procedures. Besides, aren't major dental procedures covered by OHIP or other provincial health care? No, they're not.

32% of Canadians are without dental insurance.

If you are without insurance, put your mind at ease. Preventative insurance is an investment in the future. Restorative is an investment in your current quality of life.

Major and Minor Restorative Procedures Explained

Restorative dental procedures fall into two main categories. There are minor restorative procedures and major restorative procedures.

A few of these procedures overlap. Dental fillings can be classified as preventative or restorative. This depends on how many you need in a given year.

Minor Restorative Procedures

There is a hierarchy of dental procedures. Basic, preventative care is at the bottom. Minor restorative is the middle, and major restorative the top. When you need minor restorative care, it means most of your teeth are not too far gone to save.

Here are some of the minor restorative procedures covered by insurance plans.

  • Fillings: Preventative plans cover minor fillings. They are also the first level of restorative care. Fillings stop decay immediately.
  • Root Canals: Root canals restore infected and abscessed teeth.
  • Scaling: This type of cleaning is for people with active gum disease. Scaling cleans bacteria buildup deep under the gumline.
  • Extraction: Sometimes a dentist can't save a tooth. In the case of advanced gum disease, decay, or infection, your dentist may need to pull it out.

Major Restorative Dental Procedures

Major restorative procedures go far beyond the basic and minor. There is often overlap. One plan may consider crowns a minor procedure, while another will classify a crown as major.

Dental insurance companies classify the following as major restorative dental procedures.

  • Implants: These are artificial teeth screwed into the jaw meant to mimic real teeth.
  • Dentures: A person could need partial or full dentures depending on the health of their teeth. This restorative procedure is a replacement for your natural teeth.
  • Orthodontics: This is a specialized form of dentistry. It focuses on teeth straightening, jaw alignment, and your bite. Included are treatments like braces, wisdom teeth extractions, and other jaw alignment procedures.

Preventive Compared to Preventative Procedure

You may wonder what the difference is between preventive vs. preventative procedures.

Preventive care is proactive. It's the combined care you and your dentist take to prevent the need for restorative procedures like a deep cleaning.

So many people are reactive toward their dental health. If you develop a cavity, you get it filled. Preventative procedures stop the development of cavities.

Did you know the medical community outlines five levels of prevention? You can use them to develop a proactive dental health strategy.

  • Primordial: Primordial focuses on socioeconomic factors that relate to dental care. So often poor oral health begins in childhood. This prevention level mitigates the contributing factors of poor dental health.
  • Primary: This what you do at home to take care of your teeth like brushing at least twice a day and flossing.
  • Secondary: Secondary prevention involves regular dentist visits. Preventive procedures like cleanings as well as diagnostic examinations detect diseases early and aim to halt their severity.
  • Tertiary: Tertiary prevention involves minor and major restorative procedures meant to prevent already existing diseases like tooth decay from growing more severe.
  • Quarternary: This stage of prevention keeps you from undergoing unnecessary or dangerous procedures, as well as prevents harmful medication. A good example is a dentist declining to prescribe opioids for an abscess.

Preventative Coverage

Preventative dental services are the first line of defense against the need for major prosthodontics or restorative dental care. This insurance pays for regular maintenance like check-ups and cleanings.

SureHealth's Zone 2 plan covers 80% of your preventative dental care procedures. This is the least expensive of their seven Zone plans.

Canada Life's basic Core Plan offers 70% reimbursement of routine, preventative dental services.

Preventative coverage helps your health and bank account. Your investment in routine dental maintenance lowers your need for major restorative services!

Restorative Coverage

Restorative dental services are a right now investment.

Your plan will cover a part of these services, but it depends on what plan you enroll in. If you need major or minor restorative care, finding the right plan is so important.

ManuLife ComboPlus Enhanced covers 60% of minor restorative procedures like root canals in the first year. It covers 60% of major restorative procedures like orthodontics and dentures in year two.

Canada Life's Elite Plan reimburses 80% of all minor restorative procedures and 50% of all major restorative.

Do you need more information on which plan is right for you? Read this Insurdinary guide on Canadian dental insurance providers.

Preventative Dental vs. Restorative Dental: Find the Right Plan

If you're without dental insurance, you need to find the plan that fits your needs. Understanding preventative dental and restorative dental procedures help you find one.

Though comparing dental insurance plans confuses the best of us, Insurdinary is here to guide you through the process. Get a quote today from Insurdinary and invest in your health!

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