Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Dental Health

My dental visit last week went well.  I was told that I have only one more tooth that they want to watch.  Its not a cavity but it is the last of the old silver fillings in my mouth.  My gums are good too.  Almost perfect check up this time with the exception of the the old filling they are watching.

In June I was diagnosed with Bruxism.  This is most likely the cause of my fillings not lasting as long as they should.  Well that and the fact that I have GERD and a stressful life.

So while I was at my appointment last week I was fitted for my night guards.  I've had various night guards in the past.  I've had the cheap rubber ones.  I've had the expensive acrylic and metal night guards that I paid out of pocket over $400.00 for 10 years ago.  The expensive one never fit properly and I ended up chucking them, all because when I'd put the guard in place at night it couldn't easily be removed without crying, screaming and having a fit in the morning.  It was painful to try to remove that particular guard.

My new night guard will be ready later this month.  I have hope.  Yes, it was still expensive but I have good dental insurance.  I had to only pay half for the night guard this time.  My dental staff assured me that they would give me a good fit and not let me leave there until it did fit properly.  I had told them about the problem I had with my old one.

Now what I don't understand is why I have dental insurance and a good portion of my friends do not.  Their spouses are in the military.  The insurance for just one person is only about $12 a month.  Family plan is a bit more.  But really why not get the insurance?  It covers twice yearly cleanings, xrays and the fluoride treatments at the cleanings.  It covers 50% of the cost of the night guard and reduced rates depending on the rank of the active duty member for all other services. 

Take a look:

  A key part of making wise dental health decisions is understanding how the TRICARE Dental Program (TDP) works and knowing how to make it work for you and your family.
One of the best ways to manage your dental health care while keeping your out-of-pocket costs down is to plan ahead for preventive and restorative care. Here are some tips for planning your dental care.
Know What's Covered
The TDP offers all enrollees coverage for a wide array of dental services, including, but not limited to:
  • Diagnostic and preventive services (exams, cleanings, fluoride treatments, sealants and X-rays)
  • Restorative services (fillings)
  • Endodontics (root canals)
  • Periodontics (gum and bone dental services)
  • Oral surgery (extractions, biopsies and other surgeries)
  • Prosthodontics (crowns, bridges and dentures)
  • Orthodontics (braces)
The TDP does not cover every dental treatment. For some services, e.g., cosmetic procedures, you pay the whole cost of the treatment.
Refer to your TRICARE Dental Program Benefit Booklet for a complete list of covered services.
Know Your Cost-Shares
Your out-of-pocket costs vary depending on the service and your sponsor's pay grade. Cost-shares range from zero percent to 50 percent.
For example, there is no cost-share for most diagnostic and preventive services, but for more complex services (e.g., implants), there is a 50-percent cost-share. The following enrollees have a 30-percent cost-share for endodontic, periodontal and oral surgery services performed stateside:
  • National Guard and Reserve sponsors in pay grades E-1 to E-4
  • Family members whose sponsor is in pay grades E-1 to E-4
All other stateside enrollees have a 40-percent cost-share for these services.


So why aren't more of my friends covered when it costs so little?  Don't they realize how important it is to have good dental health?  If you don't take care of your teeth you are at risk for a higher incident of heart attack, brain infections, and other systemic infections.  

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