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According to the CDC, 7.1% of adults don’t have any natural teeth left in their mouths. More than 18% of children and 31% of adults have untreated cavities. Much of this can be associated with the lack of dental insurance or the inability to pay for dental care. Thankfully, there are options for individuals who cannot afford dental care in the form of dental insurance plans and dental savings clubs. Here at First-in-Smiles Dentistry, serving Matthews and Charlotte, NC, we would like to help you find a way to make dental care affordable by explaining the benefits and drawbacks of dental insurance and dental club memberships.

Dental Insurance

Getting a dental insurance plan can help pay for the costs of visiting a dentist for teeth cleanings, annual exams and advanced dental treatments, like implants, crowns and dentures. Dental insurance is an agreement between the insurance company and you (if you pay for your own insurance) or the employer providing your insurance. This means that the dentist has no say in what benefits are available to you through the insurance.

Dental insurance acts as a gift certificate for dental services. It may help pay for a portion of your investment in dental health – but not all of it. Most dental plans categorize providers as either in-network or out-of-network. First-in-Smiles is in-network with all major insurance networks. However, oftentimes with dental insurance, the cost of services is similar, whether the provider is in-network or out-of-network.

Many dental insurance plans offer 100-80-50 coverage with the numbers corresponding to the percentage of the costs the insurance provider will cover. For preventive care, this often means the provider will cover 100% of the costs (other stipulations may apply based on design of your insurance plan agreement).

However, if the dentist at your Matthews dentistry notices one or more cavities, that service may only be covered at 80%, and if you need a root canal, crown, or a visit to an oral specialist, those costs may only be covered at 50%.

Benefits of Dental Insurance

  • It helps pay a certain percentage of your investment in your dental health.
  • Preventive services are often covered at 100%.

Drawbacks of Dental Insurance

  • Many dental insurance providers place an annual financial limit on the amount they are willing to pay.
  • Insurance companies may place a waiting period of up to 12 months before covering major procedures.
  • You may be required to pay a deductible, even on preventive services.
  • Your monthly premium may be based on your dental history, meaning if you’ve needed a lot of dental work in the past, your premium may be higher than average.
  • Many dental plans exclude coverage for implants, orthodontic and cosmetic procedures.

Dental Savings Clubs

For individuals without dental insurance, a dental savings club may be the answer. Dental savings clubs are basically memberships to a specific dental practice, like First-in-Smiles Dental Savings Club. While often confused with insurance, a savings club is not dental insurance. In fact, these memberships are often less complicated than a dental insurance policy, and they offer tiered membership plans based on your dental health. For example, First-in-Smiles Dental Savings Club offers three membership plans, including child, adult and periodontal disease (gum disease) memberships.

  • Child Membership – $25 per Month
  • Adult Membership – $29 per Month
  • Perio Membership – $50 per Month

Benefits of Dental Savings Clubs at First-in-Smiles Dentistry

  • Low monthly payments make preventive dentistry affordable. Long-term, this will help you maintain optimal dental health, which will prevent potential pain/discomfort and reduce future dental costs.
  • There are no waiting periods.
  • No deductibles are required. With traditional dental insurance, deductibles can amount to nearly your full benefit annually.
  • There is no maximum savings amount. Traditional insurance “maxes” out, often capping your benefits every year at $1000 – $1500.
  • Your $99 activation fee includes the first month.
  • Each plan comes with at least two free dental cleanings, dental exams and necessary annual x-rays. Membership also covers one emergency dental exam if needed.
  • You choose the membership that’s right for you.
  • You could save between $162 and $268 per year. If you are dentally healthy, you will only pay for the services you receive.
  • You’ll receive 10% off additional treatments (there may be some exclusions).

Drawbacks of Dental Savings Clubs at First-in-Smiles Dentistry

  • Exact prices are determined by the dental office.
  • Memberships are month-to-month.
  • Memberships are not transferable to other dental practices.

Signing Up for Our Dental Membership Club

Signing up for a dental membership club here at First-in-Smiles is easy. All you have to do is fill out our easy online form. Once you’ve signed up and paid your initial activation fee, your membership is immediately active. This means you can schedule all your dental appointments and start enjoying your discounted dental services at our family dentistry right away.

To learn more about the First-in-Smiles Savings Club and to schedule an appointment, call us today.