What is included in student dental health insurance?
Dental insurance is an important form of coverage to have. Anyone who has ever had a toothache will attest to the need for immediate attention by a dentist. Unfortunately, dental insurance is often regarded as a supplemental form of insurance that is not technically necessary; dental insurance is usually not a standard part of most health insurance plans.
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Those student health plans that do include dental insurance will vary. An insurance contract must be carefully read so that you understand completely what is covered and what is not covered for dental services.
Why do students need dental health insurance?
Dental health is an important part of overall wellbeing. Students need dental insurance to continue to work towards becoming educated, productive members of society.
In today’s society, clean and even teeth are requirements for attractiveness; the amount of teeth whitening products on the market can attest to that. Oral health issues such as bad breath, stained teeth and tooth loss are socially undesirable. Students with these dental issues may have self-esteem issues resulting from the lack of what has become a social norm. Everyone has the right to a healthy smile.
Routine visits help to reinforce good dental habits that should be started in early childhood. Continuing instruction in the art and practice of daily brushing and flossing is given to students during routine dentist visits. Routine visits are a necessity as they are the hallmark for preventative dental care.
Furthermore, students also need dental insurance to cover emergency dental care associated with lost fillings, exposed nerves, and toothaches. The pain associated with toothaches has been compared to the pain of childbirth.
How can oral health affect overall health?
Students also need dental care because it literally has a direct effect on the body’s health. The Mayo Clinic, reports that studies have shown that clogged arteries, stroke and heart disease have direct links to poor oral health.
It is thought that the bacteria found in the mouth can multiply to excessive levels in those with poor dental health. The bacteria then migrate to other parts of the body, wreaking havoc along the way. This can possibly lead to:
- Infections in other parts of the body
- Endocarditis, or an infection of the inner lining of the heart, can be caused by bacteria from the mouth
- Acute gum disease, or periodontitis, that has been linked to cardiovascular disease
- Premature birth and low birth weight in pregnant women
- Immune system disorders
- Eating disorders
- Alzheimer’s disease
The ability to see a dentist as soon as a problem appears and the access to preventative regular checkups truly increase the overall health of any individual. Students need dental insurance to achieve overall wellness.
What coverage is available?
Student dental insurance plans will vary in terms of coverage. Most dental packages offer some or a few of the services associated with dental care.
Basic coverage can include regular check-ups at a dentist’s office. Dentists recommend a minimum of two checkups a year. During these visits, the teeth are cleaned, flossed, and checked for cavities, gum disease, and other oral problems.
Basic services that could also be included in dental coverage are X-rays and molds of the teeth. Dentists use X-rays to spot cavities in the hard-to-examine areas of the teeth. Dental molds create a three-dimensional form of the teeth for the dentist to examine. The dentist can easily spot problems with teeth overcrowding or an overbite with the form.
More expensive services that could be covered include tooth extraction and the filling of cavities. Teeth may need to be pulled if they are so damaged or decayed that they will likely fall out; a tooth might also need to be pulled to make room for other teeth in the mouth. Additionally, cavity filling is an important procedure to prevent tooth loss or pain.
The pulling of wisdom teeth is usually a more expensive procedure than standard tooth extraction; the patient is usually required to be anesthetized for the removal of wisdom teeth. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners, reports that some health insurance plans will partially cover wisdom tooth extraction if it is performed in a hospital.
The most expensive services that might be covered under dental insurance involve a higher level of oral care. Root canals are an expensive procedure that involves removing the tooth nerve and sealing the empty space in order to save a tooth; coverage for a root canal is important, as they are very expensive.
Other very expensive procedures or services that could be covered are dental implants and dentures. When a tooth is lost, it can be replaced with dentures or a dental implant. Dentures, or plates, are pieces of metal with an artificial tooth or teeth to replace a missing tooth. A dental implant is an artificial tooth that is actually anchored into the gums to replace a missing tooth. Both procedures require multiple office visits and cost thousands of dollars.
Orthodontics, or the straightening of teeth through metal braces, is a final, very expensive dental procedure that might be covered by dental insurance.
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