It’s December, so you know what that means.
That’s right! It’s time to use up those dental benefits before the calendar flips to 2022.
“It is a perfect time to overlap or utilize your benefits on extensive, big ticket items,” Landmark Dental practice manager Francesca McCallen says. “If you’ve got money left on your plan, get in there and get that started.
“For example, if you need fillings in three corners of your mouth, at least get one corner done and fully paid for because then next year you can maybe get the other stuff paid for that, if you hadn't done this this year, you would be paying for it yourself.”
Most people pay premiums that allow for a certain dollar amount worth of work each calendar year. A common figure is $2,500, so now is the time to find out how much money you have left in the pot.
And here’s the thing: Your insurance company won’t remind you how much you have left to spend, because they are a business as well. It’s up to you to find out.
There are typically three types of dental coverage: A, B and C. ‘A’ coverage is normal preventative treatment, like cleanings and basic fillings. ‘B’ coverage is for crowns, bridges, specialist appointments or periodontal surgery. ‘C’ coverage, meanwhile, is geared more towards cosmetic treatment, most of which is not covered by insurance.
Landmark Dental has no more room for cleanings, or hygiene appointments, in 2021, but there is still plenty of appointments for restorative work if you have that one tooth that is bothering you and needs some attention.
There are other reasons to get some last-minute dental work done in December:
• Fee increases — The provincial dental college sends out a fee guide each February, and the cost of any treatment in that book has never dropped. It is just a guideline, but dental offices deal with inflation like the rest of us.
• Supply increases — As an example, McCallen used to be able to get a box of gloves for $15. Now she is paying four times that. Dental offices have also had to pay for protective gear to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and that is causing costs to rise as well.
• Looking good — Even though your insurance is unlikely to pay for it, getting your teeth whitened or having other cosmetic work done would be a nice Christmas gift to yourself. After all, people judge your age by the condition of your teeth.
“You’ll look good. Everybody loves that youthful smile,” McCallen says. “People don’t realize that you get judged on your age by your teeth. Cosmetics will definitely make you look more youthful.”
• Overlap treatments — As McCallen mentioned, sometimes you need more work done than your yearly allowance will cover, so it’s a good idea to split them up over two calendar years. If you have $4,000 worth of work needed to be done, get $2,000 done this December and then the other $2,000 in February so that it is all covered.
One point to consider, however: If you start a crown, which takes at least two appointments, it must be completed before the end of the year, or else the whole bill will go towards your 2022 insurance.
Make your December appointment by calling Landmark Dental at (250) 762-3342 or by visiting the Landmark Dental website.
This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.