How to Avoid Spending Vacation Days in the Dentist’s Chair

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American snowbird seniors have already migrated south for the winter and soon families will flock to warmer climates for winter and spring breaks. While the concept of trading grey, snowy days for bright sun and sandy beaches is nothing new, there is an emerging travel trend that may take some by surprise: dental care.

A recent survey of more than 1,800 consumers by eHealth found that 21 percent were willing to travel across the border for medical or dental care, while six percent have already done so. Of those who traveled outside of the United States for medical reasons, six out of 10 respondents (sixty percent) received dental care or treatment. And, of those willing to consider international travel for medical or dental care, 74 percent were enticed by the possibility of lower costs.

Dental insurance is often overlooked by consumers shopping for health coverage – 74 million Americans are currently without dental insurance compared – yet, according to some estimates, the cost of dental care has increased 90 percent since 2000. Getting the right dental plan for your needs and understanding how that coverage works can help to avoid thousands of dollars per year in costly treatments that may leave you searching for airfare. Here are some quick tips to keep in mind:


  • Routine dental care plans generally cover some if not all the costs for preventatives services like oral exams, cleanings, fillings and X-rays. In searching for plans, know what is covered – and how frequently you can use these services – to maintain a healthy smile, now and later.


  • Oral health doesn't have to be costly. Dental insurance plans start as low as $8.95 per month which pales in comparison to the fees you will be hit with for a dental procedure that regular trips to the dentists may have prevented.  


  • When you care for your mouth, your entire body wins. As the entry point to your digestive and respiratory tracts, good oral health care can help to fend off costly and harmful infections and disease such as pneumonia and various heart conditions.


When consumers take advantage of the preventive services such as routine cleanings that their dental insurance covers they can help maintain their dental health and potentially avoid thousands of dollars per year 1


While no one typically looks forward to trips to the dentists, it may be those regular visits that prevent you from spending your well-earned vacation days and airline miles on invasive oral procedures abroad. So, before you book your winter travel, take a minute to review your dental plan or – if currently uninsured – shop for coverage. And keep on smiling!  

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