a guide to dental insurance for babies and children
When a child is born, getting health coverage is a priority. but it is also important to have dental insurance. This guide to children’s dental insurance gives you everything you need to know.
when and why to get coverage
Babies typically start getting teeth around 6 months of age and cavities can develop as quickly as teeth appear, so consider getting dental insurance as soon as possible. Your dentist will check to see if your child’s smile is off to a good start and provide helpful information about dental disease prevention, nutrition, and dental development.
Unfortunately, children can develop cavities by their first birthday. Childhood cavities can cause pain, difficulties with eating and speaking, and infections that can damage permanent teeth that develop below the gums. If these cavities are severe or extensive, very young children may need to be treated in a hospital under general anesthesia. this can have an emotional and financial effect on the parents.
By age 5, more than 20% of children have had cavities and nearly 10% have untreated cavities. Poor dental health in childhood is likely to carry over into adulthood. Fortunately, most childhood dental disease can be prevented through good oral hygiene, proper nutrition, and regular visits to the dentist.
Dental insurance makes care more affordable, and children with dental insurance are twice as likely to receive dental services as those without. And a healthy smile is even important for learning, since students with poor oral health tend to have lower grades and are absent more often than students with good oral health.
what to look for in coverage
Coverage varies between plans. When comparing plans, be sure to check what is and isn’t covered. consider the ages of your children and their needs during the coming year. Look for plans that cover all or most of the cost of preventive care (exams, cleanings, X-rays) and basic care (fillings, tooth extractions). most plans cover fluoride treatments and dental sealants for cavity prevention in children, but check to see if they’re included.
Add up the total potential costs, including deductibles, out-of-pocket limits, and coinsurance or copayments (that is, the percentage or share you pay for a procedure), and make sure your dental insurer has a large network of dentists, including pediatric dentists and specialists. To make the most of in-network savings, check to see if your preferred dentist is in-network.
future needs to consider
Your children’s permanent teeth will begin to come in around age 6. dental sealant coverage is vital at this time because the permanent back teeth (molars and premolars) need to be sealed immediately.
Around age 7, your dentist may suggest your child see an orthodontist to assess future needs. If your child is likely to need braces, he may want a plan that partially pays for major dental and orthodontic work.
how to get coverage
- Employer Coverage: If you or your spouse have a dental plan through your employer, you may be able to get a family plan during open enrollment. Plus, having a baby is a qualifying life event, so you can add your newborn to your benefits within a period determined by your plan.
- Individual and family coverage: You can buy a plan that fits your family’s needs from companies like delta dental.
- Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP): These state-funded plans are available to low-income families.
2Impact of early childhood caries on quality of life: child and parent perspectives. singh n, dubey n, rathore m, pandey p j oral biol craniofac res. 2020 Apr-Jun;10(2):83-86.