THE BLOG
09/15/2014 06:22 pm ET Updated Nov 15, 2014

Dental Insurance Questions Debunked By a Dentist

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Everyone dreams of flashing the confident, sparkle-in-the-eyes, I'm-feeling-good smile! How often do you wonder what kind of impression your smile projects? We all want to be noticed for how unique we are, and a smile is the best natural accessory.

Innovation in technology and advancements in the quality of dental materials have made it easier than ever to achieve desired cosmetic results. Dentists who are on the cusp of this technology also understand the value our society places on attractiveness and confidence. We want to help our patients achieve their goals. Using dental insurance can help cut down on costs, but it is important to know how the different plans work in order to get the most out of having insurance.

Below is a brief explanation on how to pick a dental insurance, depending on your personal circumstances.

1. You're a healthy and very lucky patient who never has cavities. Do not purchase dental insurance at all. If the cost of your biannual check up is less than the cost of your insurance fee for one year, it's not worth it. Alternatively, purchase the least expensive insurance like an HMO plan, which will pay for your check ups and cleanings biannually.

2. You're a patient who may get a cavity every once in a while, but you go to the dentist regularly and get them filled, so you never end up needing more dental work. For you, either a less expensive HMO insurance or a PPO plan will cover everything you need. HMO's and PPO's both have low co-pays as long as you stay in network.

3. You have had a lot of dental work done and constantly need to get the
not-as-affordable porcelain fillings, crowns, root canals or surgeries.
Ideally, opt for a PPO plan with a high yearly maximum. In this case, you pay for a percentage of what the procedure costs. However, the insurance company will give you a maximum amount you can spend that year, so try to choose the highest maximum amount. You pay less, and the insurance company picks up more of the cost.

In addition, use the flexible spending option at work, which allows you to pay for treatment prior to taxes being taken out. There are also dental financing companies, where you pay a monthly payment, often with 0 percent APR for up to 24 months. As long as you pay on time, there is no penalty.

Consider the above options and you will find the one that fits you best. If you ever find yourself needing some type of treatment, always choose the best, strongest, longest lasting materials. Using high-quality materials will ensure that you will not need to redo the restorations and spend more. Always think long term! The best way to know for sure, is to schedule a checkup. Even if you do not have insurance, pay out of pocket, just for the examination. Then, add up the costs of your treatment with or without insurance to make your final decision. Talk to a dentist whom you like and trust -- and be proactive.