It can be very easy to let dental care fall to the bottom of your priorities when you’re in college. As a student - dental coverage and dental health may not be top of mind. However, going to regular dentist check-ups is extremely important to your overall health, no matter your age or how healthy you feel.
Neglecting to have your teeth cleaned can result in cavities and tooth decay. If cavities go untreated, they can cause severe pain, infection, and even tooth loss. You might also have issues that you can’t identify on your own, such as gum disease, which can lead to irreversible damage. Dentists can also help clean your teeth and remove stains, so you feel more confident about your smile.
According to one report, more than one-quarter of young adults stated that the appearance of their mouth and teeth affects their ability to interview for a job, and a quarter of adults avoid smiling due to the condition of their mouth and teeth. Research suggests there is even a link between poor oral health and heart disease, and lack of dental care can exacerbate conditions like diabetes.
When you’re a busy student, you may feel that you don’t have enough time to go to the dentist, or that you can’t afford to pay for appointments. Plus, if your parents helped schedule check-ups for you in the past, you might not be in the habit of taking care of them yourself. Still, a good goal is to see a dentist at least once a year for a checkup, unless your dentist finds cavities or other issues, in which case you’ll need to go more often.
Most adults have dental coverage, and for good reason. Dental insurance for students can help cover the cost of preventative care (in other words, regular check-ups to your dentist). While your specific costs will vary based on your situation, dental plans often cover 100% of the cost of routine cleanings and exams, meaning that you won’t pay for those appointments out-of-pocket. Dental plans may cover up to 80% of procedures like fillings and root canals.
As always, different plans may offer different benefits so its important to review the terms of your specific plan. Consider reading up on these common dental benefits terms: annual maximum, dental network, deductible, coinsurance.
An important thing to know about dental coverage is that it is often separate from your general medical coverage. So, you may have a healthcare plan with your job or parent, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you also have dental coverage.
Student Dental Insurance: How Can Students Get Dental Coverage?
There are several different ways students can access dental coverage:
A dental discount plan (or dental savings plan) is not the same as insurance. It is a membership plan that can give you access to discounted dental services. Unlike traditional coverage, they usually don’t cover 100% of any dental service. It can be worth looking into if you don’t have private dental insurance and are reasonably healthy.
Without coverage, getting dental work could require paying hundreds, even thousands of dollars of your own money. If 100% of your routine check-ups are covered, you won’t way have to pay for those appointments. More costly procedures are often partly covered by a dental plan. Dental coverage does typically have a premium, meaning that the person who pays for the plan needs to pay a certain amount each month for the coverage. This amount varies by plan and by state, but a common range is between $20-$70 per month. For employer plans, the employer may contribute towards or pay the employee’s premium.
Whatever the cost, you will know exactly what that monthly amount is and can budget accordingly. Seeking care without coverage is more unpredictable.