I'm sure you've noticed that you and your child are two distinct people with entirely different needs, including dental health needs. When employers label children as dependents, however, they often see them as extensions of their parents. That means when it comes to awarding family dental benefits, you must be on the same policy. It's important to be sure you select a dental plan that works for both of you. Here are some things to consider when choosing your dental insurance carrier:
- Your child has the right to see a pediatric dentist. Pediatric dentists are specially trained to address the unique dental needs of young children, such as early preventive care and alleviating dental anxiety. If your family dental insurance plan only allows your child to see a pediatric dental specialist after an unsuccessful visit to a general dentist, consider making a change.
- What is the extent of your preventive care coverage? Children's teeth are in a critical stage of development. Any potential problems should be identified and resolved as early as possible. It's also crucial to establish positive dental care habits right from the start. This means dental exams early and often. If your dental plan puts unreasonable restrictions on a child's early dental care, look for dental coverage elsewhere.
- What other procedures are covered? As mentioned, your child's teeth are only just developing. If they do not grow properly, your child can experience pain or misshapen facial structure. Special care, such as orthodontics, is often required to correct the problem, and is often medically necessary. If your family dental insurance plan considers this specialized care to be cosmetic, and therefore not covered, look for something better.
- What is the extent of your emergency care coverage? Kids have accidents - it's a fact of life. Not only are they generally more active than many adults, playing sports and climbing trees, but many have not yet developed refined coordination. That means plenty of falls or balls to the mouth. If your child loses a tooth or experiences some other sort of dental trauma, be sure your plan allows you to seek immediate emergency care without anybody's permission.
- It's important for you to have a reasonable amount of control over your child's dental care. If your dental insurance company makes it difficult to choose or change dentists when you feel it's necessary, or allows you very little say in whatever treatment is performed, shop around.
Insurance may seem like a costly investment, but a family dental plan that truly fits you and your children's needs is well worth it. The preventive and emergency care you'll receive will ensure all of you will enjoy good oral health for a lifetime.