Having a healthy mouth can lead to a healthier body and lower health care costs. Having regular checkups and cleanings helps keep your teeth, gums, and tongue clean and free from infection.
During your dental visits, the dentist will perform a full oral exam and take x-rays to detect any tooth decay, gum disease or other problems that can cause more extensive work. They will also provide a thorough cleaning and develop a treatment plan to prevent future issues.
A common procedure is to place a filling to treat tooth decay that has caused a cavity (hole). This can be done using a composite resin, ceramic or porcelain based on the size and location of the hole. The material should be matched to the colour of the rest of your teeth and the tooth should look natural.
Other treatments for restoring the appearance of a tooth are veneers, crowns or onlays. Veneers are thin layers of material that cover the front of a tooth, while crowns or onlays are caps that are permanently cemented or bonded to a tooth. The materials can be coloured or opaque, depending on the area and the aesthetic or functional needs of the patient.
Sealants are a plastic material that is applied to the biting surface of a tooth to protect it from bacteria and food. They are particularly helpful for children whose permanent teeth are developing and can help reduce the risk of tooth decay in their teeth.
Porcelain inlays and onlays are also used to repair damaged teeth that have been affected by tooth decay, chipping or fractures. These can be customised to fit your smile and are often covered by a small fee by your insurance provider.
Dental implants are another option for replacing missing teeth. They can be anchored into the jaw with metal posts or titanium abutments, and are usually covered by most insurance providers.
In addition, some dentists can offer whitening and gum treatments. These are also sometimes covered by insurance, and they can be very effective in preventing gum disease.
Dentists who offer whitening or gum treatments may charge more than those who don’t, but you should check with your insurer to find out if they are part of your plan’s network. Many plans have a cap on their annual allowance for these services, so you’ll need to make sure you have enough money to cover the cost.
Some dental insurance plans include a set amount of cash that you can use to pay for out-of-network services. These cash amounts are typically lower than those paid by the insurer and can be used to save money on more expensive treatments.
A number of other dental services aren’t included in your insurance. This can add up quickly if you don’t have coverage and can lead to high out-of-pocket expenses.
Medicare Advantage enrollees with preventive benefits such as routine cleanings, x-rays and oral exams often pay no cost sharing for these services. However, more extensive dental services such as fillings and extractions require coinsurance.