Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Dental Insurance or Dental Plan? Need Help.

  1. Oct 30, 2008 #1
    I need some advice about dental care. The one thing I don't like about being a grad student is I don't have any money. I lost my dental insurance a couple months ago and need to see a dentist. The problem is I have no coverage and of course no money. My school does not off any kind of dental plan, only health insurance, so I am thinking of just signing up for one of those group dental discount things. I found one that is $100 for 15 months and has about a 50% discount on everything. I know I have at least one cavity and what looks to be a future case of gingivitis. Also, I haven't been to a dentist in many years but take pretty good care of my teeth. Is it worth dishing out the money for an actual dental insurance?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 30, 2008 #2
    If you "know" you have one cavity you may have problems with getting your most immediate problem covered (via pre-existing condition status)... You may have to sit on the cavity (for a while, if it isn't painful yet!). You may look into the price of getting a checkup, x-rays and fillings, and estimate your immediate costs.

    My advice: Sometimes you can get discount dental work done by supervised dental students. Is there a nearby dental program where you could inquire about this possibility? (My dentist in grad school wanted me for her board review, and the work was 1/2 off). Note: sometimes they require "virgin" teeth with no already-filled cavities, so they can clearly see pre-and post-results in x-rays to grade the student's work!
  4. Oct 30, 2008 #3


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    If the insuance is worth the paper it is written on then yes, i am in the UK and dental treatment is expensive, National health patients may have to wait weeks, months for treatment, if they can even get on a dentists waiting list.
    So go for it, it seems you may benifit.
  5. Oct 30, 2008 #4
    I should have specified that I am in the US. Seeng a dentist when I want is not a problem. I can schedule an appointment two days in advance and there are literally 4 dentist office's within walking distance of my apartment. But like physics girl said, I may have to wait because of my "pre-existing" condition. And after reviewing a lot of the insurance policies it seems that it probably wont be covered and if it does the red tape will take at least 12 months.

    Right now, its really all about the money. I mostly interested in which route is the cheapest.

    Ramen wont give you cavities will it?
  6. Oct 30, 2008 #5


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Well i wish you well and hope you get treatment, there is nothing worse than tooth ache.
  7. Oct 30, 2008 #6
    My advice is to buy the following mouthcare products

    1) Sonicare tooth brush (50$ + 100$/year)

    2) Waterpik (replaces flossing) 50$

    3) Colgate Peroxyl Mouthwash 8$

    Using these products diligently will make your cavity go away naturally, even if it is so bad that the dentist would prescribe a root canal (1500$). The Peroxyl will anihilate your gingivitis.

    The truth is that western medicine, save for about 5 exceptions (asprin, antibiotics, etc), is only about quick fix solutions under the assumption that the patient does not have the resolve to take care of themself. The results of the method I suggest will be far superior to what a dentist can offer, and of course the cost is much less.

    P.S. If you are in pain use the peroxyl to see immediate relief, it's like a miracle.

    P.S.S. Ramen does contribute to cavities because the bodies natural ability to increase tooth strength depends on (a) getting the right vitamins and minerals and (b) chewing on whole grains.
  8. Oct 30, 2008 #7


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    And when did you get your dental license to practice online? We don't give medical (or dental) advice here, especially bad advice that can leave someone with an even worse problem.

    The question isn't asking about treatment in the first place, it's asking about choices between insurance plans.

    Back to the OP:
    My advice is to find out what the plan really covers. Most dental plans I have experience with aren't really worth much. They've cost more than they cover and there are still a lot of out-of-pocket expenses. My opinion is that unless you're going to require something as major as a root canal or tooth extraction, it's cheaper to just pay the dentist directly. Fillings seem expensive, but aren't too expensive compared to the insurance.

    Do you have a dental school affiliated with your university? If so, you can often get discounted care there. It'll take longer to get the work done than going to a private practice dentist, but at about 1/3 to 1/2 the price sometimes.
  9. Oct 30, 2008 #8
    My school does have a dental department but right now they are only looking for students with healthy teeth are only giving exams and cleaning for $25. Since my teeth are not healthy and I will need additional care I'm SOL. To pay the dentist directly would cost me almost $400 since I would be a new patient and x-rays all that jazz would be required.

    Crosson, I rather to poor to get a $100 toothbrush and water pick at the moment while seeing a dentist but I will pick up some of that mouthwash though.
  10. Oct 31, 2008 #9
    No, they won't.

    Maybe... it can't hurt, but, depending how severe it is, it may not help. May as well just use a bottle of hydrogen peroxide, it'll be cheaper. Annihilate is definitely the wrong word (and spelled wrong too).

    (4)False, if your advice is followed instead of getting proper care and the condition worsens, it will be much more expensive

    There's no reason why it would help with pain, there are no pain relievers in it. A room-temperature liquid may be soothing, but then might as well use water.

    Ramen itself does not contribute to cavities. Nutrition does not in any way contribute to cavities. The only way diet contributes to cavities is through the residue left on your teeth from what you eat. For most non-chewy foods, a simple rinse with water 5-10 minutes after you're finished eating is sufficient (along with regular brushing/flossing). Basically the longer there is a sugary residue in your mouth, the more cavities you will get.

    Mentors: Sorry for going off-topic, but I couldn't leave the bad advice unrefuted, lest someone get the wrong idea and worsen the condition.

    Original Poster: If you have actually had a check-up where a dentist told you that you have cavities (ie. it is documented that they are already there), the it's pretty much guaranteed that any plan you sign onto now will not cover them (I could be wrong, but make sure you read the fine print). If you are pretty sure that you have one, but haven't actually been diagnosed with it, then your chances are a little better. Still, if you sign up to a plan, and then right away have a cavity, it may look suspicious, and they may refuse to cover it (again, check the plans available to you carefully). Either way, cavities and gingivitis can turn into serious conditions if left untreated. Brushing regularly (at least twice a day, brush gently with a non-abrasive toothpaste, else you're likely to worsen the condition). And rinsing with the colgate peroxyl won't hurt. Get yourself to a dentist as soon as possible, or you may go from needing a cheap and easy filling, to an expensive and painful root canal. As well, the gingivitis will contribute to problems with your other teeth if it's not taken care of, and that's guaranteed.

    To sum: Most likely, the plans won't cover your cavity. If one does, take that one. If more than one does, compare them and decide which is cheapest for you. You can ask them straight up "if I go for a filling tomorrow, will I be covered?", or if you haven't been diagnosed yet, "if I go for a checkup tomorrow, and they discover some cavities, will I be covered?". Most importantly, go to the dentist, whatever it costs.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?

Similar Discussions: Dental Insurance or Dental Plan? Need Help.
  1. Dental Plan! (Replies: 3)

  2. Need help! (Replies: 20)