There’s an old joke about why millionaires smile so much. It’s not because their wealth makes them happy — it’s because they can afford a decent dentist.
For the rest of us, it’s even less of a smiling matter when we crack a tooth, need veneers or find an abscess lurking painfully under a molar.
It’s an expensive business to get these things put right – even on the NHS.
But if we have the right dental insurance, the pain seems suddenly more bearable — particularly if we’ve chosen a policy that covers the bulk of the treatment costs.
So it’s surprising that so many people are careless with dental insurance, and either trust to luck or choose a policy that doesn’t cover their circumstances.
That’s why we’ve put together our top 5 reasons for buying adequate dental insurance. Read them carefully – and when your dentist next smiles, don’t let it be because you’re footing the bill.
5 good reasons for buying dental insurance
1. It can cover 100% of NHS dental charges
If you’re one of the lucky people who is registered with an NHS dentist – and in some towns there are now no NHS dentists taking on new patients – insurance can help you keep your dental costs down.
NHS dental treatment isn’t necessarily cheap. As at the start of 2013, while a check up, polish and scale will cost you only £17.50, fillings cost from £48 and crowns and bridges can set you back £209.
So if you crack a tooth and need a crown, you could be faced with a large and unexpected bill. But with the right dental insurance, you won’t have to pay a penny more – many policies cover 100% of the cost of NHS dental appointments and treatments.
2. It makes private dental care more affordable
Private dental care can be very expensive, especially if you need emergency treatment or regular dental work.
Depending on the policy you choose and the premiums you pay, dental insurance will cover you up to a certain annual cost limit – and sometimes sets limits on individual treatments, such as bridges.
And while most policies require you to contribute to your dental costs, they typically cover about three-quarters of dental fees – but be sure to shop around for the best deals.
After all, if you have an emergency, it’s reassuring to know a skilled private dentist is ready to help you, quickly and affordably.
3. Dental insurance is flexible
Many dental insurance policies don’t tie you to a particular dentist, unlike most dental plans.
So you can choose different dentists to undertake different procedures if you prefer. Some policies also allow emergency treatment to be undertaken by other dentists while you’re away from home.
Better still, you can choose policies that not only cover you, but other family members as well – helping you make wider savings.
4. You can pay low monthly premiums
Dental insurance needn’t be expensive – it could cost as little as a pound or two each week to get the dental cover you need.
5. You can benefit from a no-claims discount
Got a dental insurance policy, but haven’t claimed on it? Then you may well qualify for a no-claims bonus, making subsequent cover even cheaper.
Choosing dental insurance
Dental insurance is often a very economical way of keeping your dental costs down, also giving you peace of mind that emergency treatment won’t break the bank – or could even cost nothing.
But it’s important to shop around for the best deals to suit your own situation. To qualify, your teeth will need to be in good repair (i.e. not requiring immediate treatment), and you will normally won’t be covered for accidents or emergencies for at least the first 30 days of cover.
Also, be sure to choose cover that is adequate for your needs – insurers do cap the amount they will pay out over a year, so don’t choose the cheapest policy unless you’re confident it will cover your dental needs. And be sure to check other ways of covering your dental costs aren’t more appropriate.
With the right cover, though, you’ll be laughing – and your dentist will keep on smiling too, happy your insurance company is paying out on your behalf.