No dental insurance? Protect your oral health with an individual plan.

Posted on December 6, 2019 in Dental benefit information

With the end of the year approaching, you still have a few weeks to schedule a preventive checkup with your dentist and make use of your dental benefits — or consider getting a plan for next year.

Did you know that more than 2 in 5 Americans (44%), or more than 100 million people, lack dental insurance?1 Don’t be among them. People with dental insurance are 40% more likely than those without coverage to see the dentist each year (77% v. 46%).2

Preventive dental care, such as regular cleanings, is the most effective way to protect your oral health. These checkups are usually covered 100% by most dental plans. Regular dental visits help detect and treat oral health issues before they potentially become more time-consuming, comprehensive and costly to treat.

If you don’t have access to a dental plan through your employer, recently came off your parents’ plan or if you’re retired, an individual dental plan may be your best option. Here are three situations in which you may want to consider an individual plan to get the dental care you need at a price you can afford:

1. You are a retiree.

More than 7 in 10 adults (71%) aged 65 and older lacked dental insurance in 2017.3 Nearly 60 million Americans rely on Medicare, the federal government program that provides coverage for people 65 and older, for health insurance. But nearly two-thirds of those on Medicare don’t have dental coverage.4 Traditional Medicare coverage doesn’t offer a dental option unless you buy it through privately run Medicare Advantage plans.5  

2. You are self-employed, unemployed or your employer doesn’t offer dental coverage.

Cost is the No. 1 reason Americans don’t get regular dental care. More specifically, Americans say their biggest obstacles to receiving proper dental care are a lack of insurance (32%) or not being able to afford the out-of-pocket costs (47%).6 Dental insurance is designed to help you manage oral health care expenses in a more predictable way.

3. You are a college student or recent graduate not eligible under a parent’s plan.

As your life is in transition, don’t let yourself go uninsured. Being without insurance can be much more expensive than having dental coverage, especially if you have an oral health emergency, develop a cavity or need a filling, crown or root canal. In addition, having a dental plan can motivate you to get the preventive care that is so important to your long-term overall health.

If any of these situations applies to you, you may consider getting an individual dental plan as you head into the new year.

Studies show that spending on preventive dental care can save you later on restorative and emergency treatments. Taking care of your oral health also has a direct impact on your overall health. During a regular dental exam, your dentist can detect symptoms of more than 120 diseases that affect the rest of the body, such as diabetes and heart disease.7, 8

Visit or talk to an independent agent who sells dental insurance to find a plan that best meets your needs.

1 2019 Adult’s Oral Health & Well-Being Survey conducted online for Delta Dental Plans Association by Kelton Global, a leading global insights firm, between Dec. 31, 2018 and Jan. 13, 2019 among 1,100 nationally representative Americans ages 18+. The margin of error is +/- 3%.

2 2019 Adult’s Oral Health & Well-Being Survey

3 National Health Interview Survey, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,

4 Delta Dental Plans Association,

5 National Association of Dental Plans,

6 2019 Adult’s Oral Health & Well-Being Survey  

7 Application of the international classification of diseases to dentistry and stomatology: ICD-DA. World Health Organization 1995

8 U.S. Surgeon General Report on Oral Health 2000 – Chapter 3 – Diseases and Disorders