ADA: More Young Adults Have Dental Insurance Due to Obamacare ‘Spillover’ Effect

By Jenifer Dorsey

Obamacare Dental Young AdultsWhile the Affordable Care Act may not require a parent’s dental insurance plan benefits extend to dependents age 19 and older, it seems more young adults have dental insurance benefits—and are using them—since the law took effect.

In the two years (2011 and 2012) following the Affordable Care Act’s passage into law, at which point the dependent coverage provision took effect, access to dental care for young adults ages 19 to 25 rose 6.9 percentage points and utilization of dental services increased 3.3 percentage points, according to a new report published in Medical Care, a journal of the American Public Health Institute. [1]

The report’s authors, three American Dental Association Health Policy Institute researchers, credit the voluntary expansion of employer-sponsored dental insurance to dependent young adults age 19 to 25 is responsible for this increase. Obamacare allows employers to voluntarily expand dental insurance coverage to dependents through age 26, as is required for health insurance.

In a press release, ADA president Charles Norman, D.D.S. called it encouraging news but noted that it only represents a segment of the population and “millions of Americans continue to face barriers to dental care.”

The ADA’s Action for Dental Health movement is focused on three areas in what has been called the dental health crisis: 1) provide care now to people who are suffering from untreated disease; 2) strengthen and expand the public/private safety net; and 3) disease prevention and dental health education.[2] The movement is composed of eight initiatives, including emergency room referral, fluoridation, and Missions of Mercy events and the Give Kids a Smile programs—click here to read more at

What about dependents who don’t have access to expanded dental insurance benefits?

Young adults who do not have access to dental insurance coverage through a parent or employer may consider an individual dental insurance plan. Such dental coverage may be purchased through an agent; from a dental insurance carrier; or at websites such as or, which sell dental insurance plans from multiple nationally recognized carriers.

If you have questions or need help finding the right dental plan, call 888-468-3390 to talk to a dental insurance agent from


[1] American Dental Association. “ACA’s ‘Spillover’ Effect: Dental Coverage Rate Increasing for Young Adults Whose Parents Receive Health Insurance through Employers [Press Release].” June 21, 2014. Retrieved from

[2] American Dental Association. “Action for Dental Health.” Retrieved from

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How Much Does a Dental Cleaning Cost without Insurance?

By Jenifer Dorsey

Dental Costs With Without insuranceRoutine dental exams and cleanings are an important part of preventive dental care. A typical preventive dental visit will include an exam and professional cleaning, as well as topical fluoride and a set of X-rays, depending on your last dental visit and personal oral care needs. These visits, along with daily brushing and flossing, play an important role in maintaining good oral health.

Without dental insurance, the national average costs of common preventive services are as follows, according to the American Dental Association[1]:

  • Periodic examination by a general dentist – $44.10
  • Prophylaxis (cleaning) – $61.14 (child), $82.08 (adult)
  • Topical fluoride application – $31.70 (child), $32.59 (adult)
  • Sealant application, per tooth – $44.12

However, with dental insurance, preventive care may cost little or nothing on top of your monthly premium, which may cost as little as $15 per month. Many dental plans cover two preventive care visits per year at or near 100 percent. Preventive dental benefits typically include professional cleanings, routine exams, X-rays (may be limited to one set per year), topical fluoride, and sealants (may be dependent on age). Benefits and frequency for each service will vary by plan, so be sure to read plan details carefully when selecting dental insurance coverage.

Dental insurance plans also include benefits to help reduce the cost of basic care such as fillings and extractions and major care such as crowns and root canals.

The national average costs of common restorative services are as follows[2]:

  • Amalgam filling, two-surface, in a permanent tooth – $146.61
  • Resin-based composite filling, rear tooth – $197.09
  • Root canal on a molar (excluding final crown) – $918.88
  • Porcelain crown – $1,026.30
  • Extraction of an erupted tooth or root visible above the gumline $147.32

These amounts are national averages. Prices will vary depending on where you live and your dentist’s rates. Contact your dentist to find out what he or she charges for the care you need.

Visit for a quick, free quote and compare plans from multiple carriers and read more about selecting the right dental insurance plan.

Call 888-468-3390 to talk to a dental insurance agent who can answer your questions and assist you in selecting the right dental plan for your oral health needs and budget.

[1] American Dental Association. “Action for Dental Health: Bringing Disease Prevention into Communities.” December 2013. Retrieved from

[2] Ibid.

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Can You Still Buy Individual Dental Insurance in 2014?

By Jenifer Dorsey

2014 Dental Insurance EnrollmentI’m a self-employed individual and purchased 2014 health insurance plan through my state’s Obamacare exchange. However, I did not buy dental insurance during the open-enrollment period and now I wish I had. Is it too late?

Open enrollment for 2014 individual health insurance coverage may be closed, but you can still buy dental insurance this year. You do not need a special enrollment period, and you do not need to wait until 2015 open enrollment in November.

Individual dental insurance plans are available year-round. Plus, using your smartphone, tablet or computer, you can more or less shop for one anytime, anywhere. The online application process takes only a few minutes, and premiums begin as low as $15 a month through

Typical places to shop for dental benefits include the following:

  • Your state’s health insurance exchange – Though adult dental plans are not currently being sold on all state-based and federally facilitated health insurance exchanges, you might check yours to see what, if anything, is available. Keep in mind that dental benefits are not eligible for Obamacare tax credits and subsidies, even if purchased on an exchange.
  • Individual carriers – Consider checking with your health insurance company to see if it offers any dental plans. You might also search for dental-specific carriers.
  • and other multi-carrier websites – Using sites such as and can be a convenient way to find and compare dental insurance plans available in your geographic region—and from more than one carrier.

Spend some time gathering quotes and thinking about what kind of dental benefits you need. Many basic dental insurance plans include preventive care (i.e., routine exams and cleanings) at or near 100 percent. Also be sure to see if there are any network restrictions and, if so, whether or not the providers included are easily accessible and open on the days and times you can schedule appointments. Read our “10 Tips for Buying Dental Insurance Online” for more information on finding the right coverage for your oral care needs and budget.

If you need help selecting a plan or have questions, call 888-468-3390 to talk to a dental insurance agent from

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What to Do When Dependent Dental Benefits Don’t Last Through Age 26

By Jenifer Dorsey

Dependent Dental Age OutMy 22-year-old daughter just graduated college, and we learned she can no longer receive benefits through my employer’s dental insurance plan. I thought dependents had to be covered through age 26. 

Under the Affordable Care Act, dental insurance plans are not held to the same provisions as health insurance plans. This applies to both the individual and group dental marketplaces. Nonetheless, that does not mean all dental insurance plans will age out dependents once they reach 19 or cease to become full-time students through age 23.

Employers may opt to offer dependent dental coverage through age 26 as is required for major medical insurance plans. Individual dental insurance plans may also extend eligibility. It should also be noted that pediatric dental and vision benefits are embedded in, bundled with or offered as standalone plans as part of the Affordable Care Act’s essential health benefits—which are included in all ACA-compliant individual and group health insurance plans. The pediatric dental and vision EHB is required by law to last through age 19, but individual states may increase the age limit.

While your daughter may have been aged out of your employer’s dental benefits, it does not mean she has to go without this important coverage until she finds employment. There are several places to find an individual dental insurance that will accommodate your daughter’s budget. Here are five top options to start your search:

1.    COBRA

Your daughter may be able to continue her current dental insurance coverage through COBRA, which allows individuals and their families to continue certain group health benefits under specific circumstances such as losing dependency status. This law applies to employers with 20 or more employees. Employers and plans are required to notify employees of this option.

If your daughter is eligible, she could continue coverage up to 36 months. You are given 60 days from the date of your COBRA election notice to opt in. With COBRA, you/your daughter will be responsible for the entire premium—both the portion you previously paid and the portion your employer covered—plus a 2 percent administrative fee.  If you have questions, talk to your employer’s benefits advisor.

2.    Your state’s health insurance exchange

In some states, standalone dental and vision plans for adults are offered through the health insurance exchange. Visit your state’s health insurance exchange website to determine if this is an option where you live.

3.    Directly from a health insurance carrier

Many health insurance carriers offer standalone dental insurance plans for individuals. You could contact your current health insurance carrier to see what it offers. You can also shop around and compare plans by visiting carrier websites

4.    Through an agent or broker

An agent or broker can provide you with dental insurance options in your area, too. If you do not already work with an agent or broker, ask family or friends for recommendations or conduct and Internet search for agents and brokers in your area.

5.    Multi-carrier marketplaces such as

Websites such as,, and allow you to compare plans from multiple carriers, which can help you find the right balance of dental benefits that fit your daughter’s oral care needs and a monthly premium that fits her budget. Plans at start as low as $15 per month. You can get a personalized quote in seconds—no contact information needed until the time you apply.

Remember: Not all dental insurance plans are created equal. No matter where you shop, spend some time comparing plans. Read our “10 Tips for Buying Dental Insurance Online” for more information on selecting the right coverage.

If you need help finding a plan or have questions, contact a agent at 888-468-3390.


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Is Oil Pulling Good for Oral Health?

By Jenifer Dorsey

oil pulling oral healthOil pulling might be the latest alternative oral health craze. It’s appearing in blog posts and news stories with increasing frequency as people rave about and question the oral health benefits of oil pulling. Even celebrities are talking about it. The trend hardly gets mentioned now without ties to Gwyneth Paltrow who, in a recent interview with E!, listed it among her favorite DIY skin treatments, touting its oral health, teeth-whitening and skin-clearing benefits.

However, oil pulling is hardly a modern phenomenon. The practice is said to have benefits to overall healthy as well as oral health and comes from Ayurvedic medicine, which the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine say “originated in India more than 3,000 years ago and remains one of the country’s traditional health care systems.”

How it surfaced as an American health trend is a question for which we don’t have the answers, but we can tell you how it works:

  • You swish a tablespoon or two of oil—people use coconut, sesame, olive, and sunflower, among others—around in your mouth for twenty minutes.
  • Then, you spit it out and rinse your mouth with salt water. The oil is said to pull out toxins, which will give it a white, milky appearance when expelled. Visit for a more detailed explanation.

As for whether or not oil pulling is truly good for your oral (and overall) health, it depends on whom you ask. The American Dental Association on its website says, “There are no reliable scientific studies to show oil pulling reduces cavities, whitens teeth or improves oral health and well-being. Based on the lack of scientific evidence, the American Dental Association does not recommend oil pulling as a dental hygiene practice.” The ADA then reminds us to brush twice daily and floss for good oral health.

In the April–June 2011 issue of Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, the article “Tooth Brushing, Oil Pulling and Tissue Regeneration: A Review of Holistic Approaches to Oral Health,” states, “Oil pulling has been used extensively as a traditional Indian folk remedy for many years to prevent decay, oral malodor, bleeding gums, dryness of throat, cracked lips and for strengthening teeth, gums and the jaw.” Furthermore, the article cites a study showing a reduction in the plaque index and modified gingival index scores in 10 adolescent boys with plaque-induced gingivitis who practiced oil pulling with sesame oil. The 10 who participated in the control group used chlorhexidine mouthwash. Both groups experienced a “statistically significant reduction of the pre- and post-values of the plaque and modified gingival index scores.” The article’s abstract says, “Scientific validations of the Ayurveda dental health practices could justify their incorporation into modern dental care.”

Should you incorporate oil pulling into your daily oral and health care routine? Perhaps you might treat it as a complementary practice. Ultimately, it is up to you to discuss with your trusted oral and/or health care professional(s) and decide.


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Delta Dental Survey Results: Dental Insurance Increases Dentist Visits, Dentist Visits Increase Well-Being

By Jenifer Dorsey

Delta Dental Survey Well-BeingPeople who visit the dentist more often report better oral health and overall well-being. Results from the Delta Dental Oral Health and Well-Being Survey, which were released in May, showed that Americans who visit the dentist at least once a year are more 22 percent more likely to report their overall physical and emotional health as good or better and 37 percent more likely to report their oral health as better than those who seldom visit the dentist.

Furthermore, those with dental insurance are significantly more likely to visit the dentist. Seventy-eight percent of those with dental coverage see the dentist annually; of those without it, 52 percent do so.

In a press release, Dr. Bill Kohn, DDS, Delta Dental Plans Association’s vice president of dental science and policy, said, “The connection between dental coverage and dental visits perhaps isn’t surprising, but the numbers demonstrate the stark contrast in dental care. At Delta Dental, we strongly encourage those with coverage—and those without—to get the preventive care they need.”

Additional findings included the following:

  • More than 1 in 4 Americans (27 percent) say they have open oral health issues they’d like to resolve. The biggest reason for not addressing the problem is ability to pay for the work (cited by 62 percent of those with unresolved issues), while nearly a quarter (23 percent) mentioned fear of the treatment.
  • More than 1 in 5 Americans (21 percent) say they have been advised by a dentist that they have gum disease.
  • About 1 in 6 Americans (16 percent) say they have missed work due to oral health issues beyond regular treatments and cleanings.

Click here to read the study press release at

Do you have dental insurance?

Dental insurance is designed to encourage preventive care. Plans often cover routine exams and professional cleanings, among other preventive oral health benefits, at 80 to 100 percent and without a waiting period.

Visit to learn more about dental coverage and get a quick, multi-carrier quote. Call 888-468-3390 to talk to a dental insurance agent who can answer your questions and help you find the right dental plan for you and your family.



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5 Tips for Buying Reliable Dental Insurance

By Jenifer Dorsey

Reliable Dental PlansPurchasing individual dental insurance be relatively quick and easy (especially online), but it also requires a little research. If you buy from the wrong people and companies, you risk purchasing coverage that is not what you expected or, worse yet, a fraudulent product.

Here are five tips to help ensure the dental insurance you decide to buy for your family is reliable, trustworthy, and just what you need:

1.    Ask questions. If you are not familiar with a company or the agent selling the dental coverage, find out more before you do business with them.

The National Association of Dental Plans suggests asking the following questions:

  • Are you licensed to offer this plan in this state?
  • Are you registered with the Better Business Bureau
  • Can you mail me information on the plan, the providers and other details before I sign up with the plan?
  • Do you have a website with more information?
  • Read NADP’s “Ten Questions to Avoid Fraudulent Dental Plans” for more questions and in-depth explanations about the answers you should expect.

If you are buying online, call the customer service number listed on the website and ask any questions you have about the company and its products. The answers, as well as the interpersonal experience, can tell you a lot.

2.    Contact your state insurance department. The National Association for Insurance Commissioners calls your state insurance department your “best source for company and agent licensing information.”

You can also file a complaint, learn more about consumer protections, and even find tips on shopping for insurance through your state insurance department website.

3.    Check with the Better Business Bureau. This trusted nonprofit organization has been around for more than 100 years and provides free business reliability reviews to consumers. Visit to investigate the carrier from which you plan to buy dental insurance.

4.    Look for the A.M. Best Rating. Independent insurance industry credit rating agency A.M. Best has been around since 1906. As the agency’s website states, Best’s Financial Strength Rating “is an independent opinion of an insurer’s financial strength and ability to meet its ongoing insurance policy and contract obligations.”

The scale ranges from A++ (Superior) to S (Suspended), and the ratings help consumers get a feel for the carrier’s stability or vulnerability. Each Financial Stability Rating also includes an outlook for the next 12 to 36 months. Visit and read the Guide to Best’s Financial Strength Ratings to learn more.

Look for a carrier’s A.M. Best Financial Strength rating on its website or marketing materials. The IHC Group, the carrier for many plans sold on, has an A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating of A- (Excellent).

5.    Know what you need and what you are buying. Having a clear idea of what you can afford to pay in monthly premium and for out-of-pocket for care, as well as what kinds of dental benefits you typically use in a year, can help you find the right dental plan. Once you select a plan, read the details carefully to become aware of any applicable copayments, coinsurance, deductible, maximum benefit payment, and waiting period.

Simply buying the least expensive coverage you can find may mean buying inadequate benefits or a dental insurance plan that isn’t dental insurance at all. For instance, dental insurance and dental discount plans are often confused with one another but are not the same thing—read “Dental Discount Plans Vs Dental Insurance: What’s Right for You?” to learn more about the difference. Also check out our 10 Tips for Buying Dental Insurance Online.

Visit to learn more about the plans we sell and get quotes. If you need more help selecting the right dental insurance coverage, call a agent at 888-468-3390.



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What Information Do You Need to Buy Dental Insurance Online?

By Jenifer Dorsey

Online Dental ApplicationOnce you choose a dental insurance plan, applying for and purchasing coverage online takes just a few minutes.

Here is how it works at

First, select your coverage from the quoting results provided and click “apply.” You will be taken routed to the carrier’s website to fill out an application

Unlike buying health insurance, dental insurance does not require a health history. However, you should be ready to provide the following information:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Contact information—street address, phone, email
  • Billing and payment information—know whether you want to pay monthly or annually
  • Additional applicant details if you are also buying coverage for a spouse and/or children
  • Tobacco use

This process will be similar when purchasing dental insurance from other websites as well.

Before you buy

Not all dental insurance plans are created equal. Benefits, lifetime maximums, waiting periods and deductibles vary, as does access to networks and additional discounts, among other details. Spend some time collecting and comparing quotes and plan details.

It is important to consider not only what monthly or annual premium you can afford, but also how you and your family use dental services in a typical year. Read 10 Tips for Buying Dental Insurance Online for more information on choosing the right plan.

If you have questions or need assistance, call 888-468-3390 to talk to a dental insurance agent from

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Need Dental Insurance? 5 Reasons to Buy It Before a Toothache

By Jenifer Dorsey

Dental Benefits Focus On PreventionAs the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. You might say that is the philosophy behind dental insurance. Dental plans are designed to promote good oral health with robust preventive care benefits. Nonetheless, going without dental insurance can be a tempting way to save money.

Here are five reasons you might re-think skipping dental benefits:

1.    Many plans include cover preventive care at or near 100 percent. Such preventive benefits typically include an exam and cleaning once every six months, and oftentimes fluoride treatments, X-rays and sealants, too.

When shopping for dental insurance, be sure to consider a plan’s premium, coinsurance and out-of-pocket costs and weigh them against your dental care needs. Read our 10 Tips for Buying Dental Insurance Online to learn more about finding the right dental plan.

2.    Tooth decay is largely preventable, even though it may be the “most prevalent chronic disease among children and adults,” according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. The American Dental Association lists dentist exams and cleanings—along with brushing, flossing, checking with your dentist about supplemental fluoride, and eating healthy—among the top ways to prevent tooth decay.

Having dental insurance plays a large role in receiving preventive care. Studies show that people with private dental insurance have more dentist visits each year than those without it.

3.    Dental insurance premiums may be as low as $15 per month.  Annually, Americans spend an average of $850 on soft drinks, $475 on dry cleaning and $1,542 on their dogs, according to a analysis. For as little as $15 per month, about $180 per year, you can purchase dental insurance benefits that, when used, can help you maintain good oral health.

Even if you only see the dentist for two preventive care visits per year, having dental insurance is likely to save you money. Furthermore, while many plans do not require you to see network providers, they do offer access to network providers who provide dental services at discounted rates.

4.    If you need dental care, dental benefits can help reduce the cost. While dental plans do not cover basic and major care such as cavities and root canals at 100 percent, they do include benefits to help reduce your out-of-pocket costs for these services. How much they cover will vary by plan design and the options you select. Again, when shopping for the right dental plan, consider your typical dental needs and all costs associated with the benefits, not just your premium.

5.    If you wait until the toothache, you may be too late. Many dental insurance plans have waiting periods on benefits other than preventive care. If you wait until you are in discomfort to buy dental benefits, you may find yourself paying out of pocket for treatment. However, if you maintain dental insurance coverage and your preventive dental visits, you may avoid dental problems altogether, catch them early on when they are more treatable and less expensive to treat, or at least have access to basic and major care dental benefits when you need to use them.

Get a dental insurance quote

Visit for free, no-obligation dental insurance quote from multiple carriers. Simply enter your ZIP code, desired plan effective date, gender and date of birth—as well as the genders and dates of birth for your spouse and children, if applicable.

To learn more and discuss your options, call 888-468-3390 to speak to a dental insurance agent from

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Where Did Wisdom Teeth Get Their Name?

By Jenifer Dorsey

Wisdom TeethHaving one’s wisdom teeth removed is almost a rite of passage for young adults. This third and final set of molars arrives somewhere around age 17 to 21, perhaps a little later.[1] And while we may be generally familiar with what they are and when they appear, many wonder why we call them wisdom teeth.

Wisdom teeth earned their name from the stage in life at which they arrive: the age of wisdom.[2] They typically depart our mouths around this time, as well. Dentists often recommend their removal early on, since they can cause oral health problems and we run a greater risk for these problems with them as we age.[3]

Dentist opinions vary on the best time to have them pulled: when they do not fully emerge, if they grow near the nerve of the lower jaw, or before the roots are fully formed, when someone is younger and more likely to recover from surgery.[4]

Maintaining routine dental visits can allow your dentist to monitor wisdom teeth and determine if and when they should be removed.  Of course, if you experience pain or infection or have other concerns before your next preventive exam, you should schedule a special appointment.

Check with your dental insurance plan to determine what benefits it has for wisdom teeth removal and whether or not you must visit a network provider for the procedure.


[1] Know Your Teeth. “What are Wisdom Teeth?” Academy of General Dentistry. Reviewed January 2012.

[2] Steinberg, Stephanie. “The Survival Guide to Getting Your Wisdom Teeth Removed.” U.S. News & World Report. May 23, 2014.

[3] American Dental Association. “Wisdom Teeth.” n.d.

[4] Carr, Alan DMD. “Wisdom Teeth Removal: When Is It Necessary?” Mayo Clinic. Feb. 27, 2104.

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