How to Get the Most Out of Your Dental Insurance?

Dr. Parvin Carter

The holiday season has arrived and your calendar is filling up with obligations. But, even though your time is already limited, it might be worthwhile to add a few medical and dental appointments to your schedule. Yes, you’ll be extra busy, but you might save a significant amount of money by taking care of these appointments now, instead of waiting until 2014.

Use Up Your Annual Maximums 

while some dental insurance plans run on a fiscal year, the majority of dental insurance plans are based on a calendar year, which means, any of their 2012 annual benefits will expire at the end of the calendar year.   the phrase “use it or lose it” really does apply to dental benefits.  if you have dental insurance, your insurer has allowed so many dollars per calendar – or fiscal year, and unused dollars do not carry-over.  if you participate in a flexible spending or health savings account, and you don’t use all your benefits before the end of the year, you will forfeit any left-over money in these accounts—benefits which you have paid for.  if you don’t use that money, it can’t be carried over to next year and is lost to you forever.

Find Out Unspent Dental Benefits

Call your dental insurance provider and find out the exact amount of your unspent dental benefits.While you’re on the phone find out what dental procedures will qualify. Typically, preventive procedures such as dental cleanings, dental x-rays and routine dental exams are covered, while cosmetic treatments, such as teeth whitening or veneers, usually aren’t covered.  However, dental benefits on every dental insurance plan are different, so it’s best to find out what your benefits are. GET ALL YOU CAN OUT OF YOUR YEARLY MAXIMUM.


The deductible is the amount of money that you must pay to your dentist out of pocket before your insurance company will pay for any services. This fee varies from one plan to another and could be higher if you choose an out-of-network dentist. However, the average deductible for a dental insurance plan is usually around $50 per year. Your deductible also starts again when your plan rolls over.

You Pay Each Month for Your Benefits, You  Should Use It
If you are paying your dental insurance premiums every month, you should be using your benefits. Even if you don’t need any dental treatment, you should always follow the American Dental Association guidelines and have your regular professional cleanings to help prevent and detect any early signs of cavities, gum diseaseoral cancer and other dental problems.
Some Dentists Raise Their Rates
Another reason to use your benefits before the end of the year are possible fee increases. Some dentists raise their rates at the beginning of the year due to the increased cost of living, materials and equipment. A fee increase can also make your co-pay higher.

Dental Problems Can Worsen

By delaying dental treatment, you are risking more extensive and expensive treatment down the road. What may be a simple cavity now, could turn into a root canal later. Call your dentist and schedule an appointment to use those benefits.

Even if you don’t have dental insurance, most dentists  can help you get access to affordable dentistry with  Uninsured Discount Dental Program, which provides significant savings on all dental cares.


In dentistry experience and Continuing Education are everything. Dr. Parvin Carter has over 30 years of experience in Practicing General Dentistry and 25 years in Orthodontics. She has thousands of hours of advanced training. In 2000, Academy of General Dentistry awarded Dr. Carter a Certificate of Mastership (MAGD) in General Dentistry. According to the Journal of the Academy of General Dentistry, only 1% of US dentists achieve this high level of advancement. Dr. Carter is a Certified and Preferred Provider of Invisalign. She has successfully treated over 340 patients with Invisalign

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