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Should Seniors buy dental insurance

Dental Shop Staff Writer | October 4, 2014

Medicare Dental Insurance

Those enrolling for Medicare in the upcoming open enrollment period should consider how they are going to handle paying for dental services. Those seniors covered by Medicare, the national health insurance plan for those over 65, have specific benefits varying by which Medicare plan they are enrolled in. Nevertheless, these plans offer little in the way of dental insurance benefits. Retired people are the least likely to have dental benefits according to the National Association of Dental Plans. Medicare offers only specific dental services that are part of a covered procedure (e.g., extractions prior to radiation treatment for neoplastic diseases involving the jaw or jaw reconstruction), to name a few. Medicare also pays for oral examinations, but not services, coming before heart valve replacement or kidney transplants, under certain circumstances.
Medicare does not cover common dental services such as cleanings, exams, crowns, root canals, fillings, implants, and more; therefore, it is a good idea to consider individual dental insurance options when retiring. Lack of insurance is the main reason for not visiting the dentist and can lead to the development of gum disease which can be linked to heart disease, cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis. Most dental plans will cover all preventative services like cleanings at 100 percent to prevent gum disease from starting and cover other major procedures at a certain percentage.
It is important for seniors to have dental insurance because their aging teeth may need special care. Older teeth are more prone to wear and tear like cracks and chips. Dry Mouth can be caused by aging and leads to tooth decay and gum disease and has even been linked to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. 23% of people 65-74 suffer from a severe form of gum disease and it’s important to have checkups at the dentist to combat this. Seniors are at high risk for oral cancer which can be screened for at exams by the dentist. Dentures are most common among seniors and over time those who use them will need regular trips to ensure their fitting. Dental Insurance can relieve the financial burden that comes with paying for dental services out-of-pocket and through preventative care and exams can spot problems before they occur. For under a dollar a day, seniors can maintain good oral care and keep their teeth, bodies and wallets in the best shape.
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