Considering the cost of dentures, restorative care, and dental care for seniors? You’re in the right place! For adults over 65, dental care costs primarily depend on two things: dental health and dental coverage.
Today, dentists choose restoration methods more often than tooth extraction. 50 years ago, adults 65-74 had 75 percent more tooth loss than they do today. Since tooth loss isn’t as common anymore, the impact it has on an individual’s self-esteem is greater.
Missing teeth also impact our overall health. We’re now seeing first-hand that dental care, not age, determines how healthy our teeth are. Studies indicate that people with dental coverage are more likely to visit the dentist. If you or someone you love is approaching retirement age, learn about dental care and coverage for seniors.
Dental Care Coverage Options for Seniors
Half a century ago, total tooth loss was three times more common than it is today—that’s because preventive dental care has made it possible for us to keep our natural teeth as we age. Consequentially, the current rate of tooth loss is the lowest it has ever been in the United States. Now that we’re keeping our teeth longer than ever before, what coverage options are there to support senior dental care?
Medicare doesn’t cover routine dental care. Today, basic Medicare only covers select dental procedures:
- An oral exam in the hospital for a kidney transplant.
- An oral exam before a heart valve replacement.
- Certain radiation treatments or other procedures related to cancer or facial tumors.
Medicare also covers some dental-related hospitalizations. For more extensive coverage, Medicare Advantage may be an option. Remember that there are waiting periods when signing up ranging from six to 24 months, depending on the extent of the procedure.
Some Medicare Advantage Plans provide coverage for routine dental services. However, keep in mind that coverage can vary widely from plan to plan and state to state. If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan, contact your plan to learn about covered dental services. Dental coverage providers like Hawaii Dental Service (HDS) may contract with Medicare Advantage and pay for the out-of-pocket costs that aren’t covered under Medicare.
Individual Hawaii Dental Service Plans for Seniors
Individual dental plans will give you the best coverage for maintaining good preventive care. That means instead of waiting for a toothache, you or your loved one should:
- see the dentist at least twice a year,
- follow the proper daily routine,
- and eat a balanced diet.
Seniors today are receiving much more restorative and preventive care than they did 50 years ago. With dental coverage and an in-network dentist, you or your loved one can restore their smile for a fraction of what it would cost without insurance.
If you have dental insurance, you’re more likely to have restorative and “tooth-saving” procedures like fillings, crowns, and root canals done. Restorative procedures lead to a healthier mouth with natural teeth. Getting dental coverage puts you well on your way to keeping a natural, long-lasting smile!
The American Dental Hygienists’ Association estimated that for every $1 spent on preventive dental care, we save between $8 and $50. Preventive care prevents us from needing more costly restorative or emergency procedures. Dental coverage maintains a healthy mouth and stops problems from developing – or worse, going unnoticed.
We used FAIR Health Consumer to document the cost of common procedures when you don’t have dental coverage:
Don’t forget about the cost of upkeep! Repairing the teeth on a pair of dentures is about $226. As we use dentures and other dental appliances, we wear them down. This means they require replacement over the years.
When dental appliances aren’t replaced, they end up not fitting correctly. Dental appliances including dentures or bridges can improve a patient’s:
- “chewing comfort,
- chewing ability,
- eating enjoyment,
- food choices,
- and speech after each denture modification and with new dentures.”
The best way to save money on your mouth? Practice a good dental health routine daily. Neglecting to care for appliances or restorative care ends up being more uncomfortable and costlier for you.
Click here for advice on proper denture care.
Click here for advice on dental care for seniors.
Hawaii Dental Service’s comprehensive dental health coverage protects the health – and smiles – of people age 65 and older. We offer:
- Most preventive and diagnostic care covered at 100%.
- Discounts on restorative treatment provided by Hawaii Dental Service PPO dentists (depending on your plan).
- No waiting period for care.
- Access to thousands of dentists in your area and across the nation who understand the needs of patients like you and your family.
- No administrative hassles – the dentist takes care of the paperwork.
As a preferred provider organization or PPO, we have a broad network of dentists who accept our benefits. We contract pricing with our dentists so you never have to worry about negotiating or not knowing costs. Click here to check out our Hawaii Dental Service Cost Estimator. Input your zip code and understand the cost of a procedure before you even set foot in a dental office.
You’ll Have Quick Access to Dental Care
With Hawaii Dental Service, we’re all about helping you make the most of your dental benefits. Why? Because it leads to a happier, healthier you. Our benefits make it easier to find the perfect dentist for your needs. If you are assisting a family member in finding the right dental coverage, please have their social security number and birth date on hand when you call in.
For information on what’s included in your plan, click here. Don’t have a plan yet? Learn more about getting dental benefits.
Looking for more on dentures and restorative care for Seniors? Click here to read: