Make the Most of Your Dental Care in 2014

Dental insurance can be complicated, but the beginning of the year is a good time to get familiar with details of your plan.

bigstock-Happy-new-year----54858320“Many dental plans re-set each January,” says Karly Achman, financial coordinator of Dr. Carol Ford’s Phoenix dentistry office. “You may have the most money in your plan in January—and that means a planning session is smart. Complete the most important work early, and ask your dentist to help you plan your dental care for the whole year.”

Karly also reminds patients to check to make sure they know the difference between the benefits of a Health Saving Account (HSA) and Flexible Spending Account (FSA). The rules are not always easy to understand, but there are tip sheets like this one from BenefitsPro.

Separating the urgent from the important is one way to decide how to handle procedures. If you need a root canal, that’s urgent and shouldn’t be put off. It might be important for you to replace some of your fillings, but the root canal needs to happen first to prevent greater damage to your teeth and gums.

“It’s smart to make a plan for the whole year,” says Dr. Ford. “A January overview and cleaning is a good way for you to get your teeth in shape after the holiday treats,” she says. “Knowing what work is ahead helps you ask the questions you need to have answers to,” adds Dr. Ford.

Once you have answers from your dentist, it’s time to phone the insurance company and ask about coverage. Some procedures may be covered by your medical rather than your dental insurance. Most HSA and FSA plans cover dental benefits; if your plan allowed carry-overs, now is the time to decide what will be done first.

A sensible plan includes regular check ups, getting urgent problems taken care of and then important goals met. “Goals vary from person to person,” says Dr. Ford, ”but goals keep emergency visits to a minimum and the sparkle of your smile at a maximum.”

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