Are you a soon-to-be retiree? Before you hit retirement, one item to add to your to-do list is to investigate your options for dental insurance or other types of coverage before your current dental insurance runs out.
Unfortunately, as you age, your risk of dental issues increases. Tooth decay, inflammation, and other dental conditions affecting the health of your teeth and gums can become more prevalent. Therefore, proper dental hygiene is important, and you need to know where you can go for dental care when issues strike.
If you’re a Hendrick County senior citizen who’s going lose to your dental insurance when you retire, here are some things you need to know.

Medicare Does Not Cover Most Dental Services

Many retirees who transition to Medicare are surprised to learn that the program doesn’t cover dental care. Medicare will not pay for basic dental procedures like checkups, cleanings, fillings, and tooth extractions performed in a dentist’s office. It also doesn’t cover dentures or other dental devices.
Under certain circumstances, Medicare may cover some dental procedures. If you have Medicare Part A, also known as Hospital Insurance, some specific dental procedures may be covered if you’re hospitalized. However, oral surgeries performed on the teeth and gums are typically considered “dental” procedures rather than “medical” procedures. Therefore, they’re not covered.

Dental Insurance Plans for Seniors May Not Provide the Coverage You Need

While Hendricks County seniors can purchase private dental insurance plans, you often must purchase it as an add-on to a medical plan. If you’re on Medicare, this can be problematic. Often, many of the supplemental private insurance Medigap plans don’t offer dental insurance.
If you do purchase private dental insurance, some plans may require a one-year waiting period before you can qualify for dental work such as crowns and root canals. Other plans, like Medicare Advantage, only cover routine exams, cleanings, and X-rays.
Additionally, you need to make sure you understand what your deductible is, how much you may pay out of pocket for services, and if your plan has an annual maximum spending limit. Most dental insurance plans cap your annual dental spending at $1,000 to $1,500, which means you must pay out of pocket for any dental care above that amount.

Most Seniors Pay Out of Pocket for Dental Services

Some older Americans don’t realize the costs associated with paying for their dental care. With limited incomes, dental expenses can become a burden for many Hendricks County seniors. On average, uninsured seniors pay $1,125 annually for dental work, according to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.
Because of these dental care costs, many seniors avoid going to the dentist. About 34% of seniors haven’t seen a dentist in 2 years while 22% of older Americans haven’t had any dental care in 5 years. These numbers may explain why:

  • One in five seniors have untreated cavities.
  • Half of all people on Medicare have gum disease, or gum and teeth infections.
  • One in four people on Medicare no longer have their natural teeth. 

Clearly, a lack of dental health coverage leaves seniors vulnerable to dental issues and other related medical problems.

What Can Hendricks County Seniors Do?

For people without dental insurance, Danville Family Dentistry offers our Smile Savings Plan. While this program is not dental insurance, seniors can receive 2 professional oral examinations, 2 dental cleanings, and routinely schedule X-rays for a year for a low annual fee. Plus, they’ll receive a 15% discount on other dental services provided by our office.
To learn more about our Smile Savings Plan or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jon Erickson, contact our office at 317-745-4400. With our program, you’ll have the opportunity to maintain your oral health to hopefully prevent major dental issues in the future. And, if you do require more extensive dental services, you can save money on these procedures with this plan. Therefore, keep your teeth looking great throughout your senior years.
Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.