In a recent survey of the most wanted work benefits and perks, health insurance was at the top of the list. That’s only to be expected. Everyone knows that you need health insurance. It might come as a surprise, though, that the second most desired work benefit is dental insurance. Why is dental insurance so important and necessary?
Anyone who has ever suffered a toothache can tell you that when your teeth hurt, your whole world seems to become one throbbing, aching tooth. There are few things that can disrupt your day more than a bad tooth. And yet, most people don’t consider dental insurance to be that important – and major employers are only just starting to realize what a potent piece of their employee benefit dental insurance is. Dental health is far more important than most people realize, and doctors are realizing that more and more each day.
Dental health is closely tied to overall physical health in ways that most people are only beginning to realize. Gingivitis – infection of the soft tissues of the mouth – can easily become systemic infection that requires hospitalization. Misaligned teeth can cause neck pain and headache, and broken teeth can open the way to opportunistic infections that can, in the worst-case scenario, be fatal. Neglecting your teeth is neglecting your health.
Without dental insurance, many adults neglect routine dental care because it’s simply too expensive. A simple filling averages $125-$200 depending where in the country you live. Routine examinations and cleanings – recommended at least once a year for adults – average $75 and up, and a full set of dental x-rays can easily cost over $200. The cost for emergency services is even higher. A root canal – one of the most common oral surgeries – can approach $1,000. And cosmetic dentistry – from whitening teeth to full replacement bridges – averages $1500 to $3000, depending on the procedure.
Good dental insurance reduces the cost of routine dental care, often paying in full for one set of x-rays and a cleaning each year. That routine care can prevent many of the more expensive emergencies. Even more important, routine dental examinations can often turn up the first signs of more serious health problems – the first signs of illnesses like diabetes are often found in your mouth. Comprehensive dental insurance is one of the key ingredients in good health care.
Is dental insurance really necessary? The answer is an unqualified yes.