Dental insurance can be a real beast! It can get complicated and confusing. Maximums, deductibles, allowable amounts, standard fees, preventive, basic, major, maxed out….Whew! Don’t worry, we have your back. Keep reading for some clarification and how to ensure you are getting the most out of your plan.

First of all, let’s start with the most important information. Your money. Your dental plan gives you a “maximum” amount they will pay toward dental services for the year. This generally ranges from $1000-$2000 but varies depending on your plan. It’s easy to run out of that “allowance” quickly if you have big procedures to be done. It’s also easy to forget about that money just sitting there waiting to be used. The phrase “use it or lose it” comes to mind. Unfortunately, unlike vacation days, your insurance money doesn’t rollover. So whatever you don’t use is…gone.

So, how can you ensure you use your full benefit and not run out? The key is to keep up with preventive care. Preventive is your yearly two cleanings, x-rays and exams. Preventive is just that…preventative! It helps prevent you from needing additional, more invasive work done by catching problems early. Your preventive care takes money from your yearly maximum or “allowance” while usually leaving some wiggle room for fillings or other dental work. If more expensive work needs to be done such as a root canal or crown, all your remaining benefits can be utilized towards the procedure making your cost out of pocket much less. So when an office says your insurance is “maxed out”, they mean you have used all your benefits for the year. That is not a bad thing! That means you are making progress toward a healthy mouth! If you don’t max out for the year, that money is just going to go away. However, keeping up with preventive care can avoid running out of insurance funds and help prevent costly dental procedures.