Dental care is expensive and there’s not a single person on earth that can argue that fact.
If you don’t look after your teeth you will certainly end up in the dentist’s chair at one point with so many teeth that need to be repaired, replaced and cleaned that your bill will likely run into thousands of dollars. Unlike health insurance, dental insurance covers you only for dental procedures. New Zealanders spend, on average $750 million on dental work each and every year – which is a huge indication of just how expensive it can get. Some people opt to travel out of the country to places like Thailand where the cost of major dental work can be less than half of what they’d pay back at home and others opt to avoid excessive fees that they encounter by travelling out of city where prices are fairly cheaper. Although we do have some of the most advanced dentists and dental surgeons in the world, dental care in New Zealand is considered to be a rip-off my most and there are no bodies that regulate fees and charges which means one dentist could charge you $170 for an extraction while another will charge you $250 for the same procedure. This is why it really pays to shop around when it comes to dental care – however, wherever you go; you're certainly going to end up with some expensive bills.
Every tooth in a man's head is more valuable than a diamond. - Miguel de Cervantes
Although health insurance is more important since it covers a wider range of treatments and procedures in addition to basic dental care in some cases, dental insurance can certainly be worth the monthly premiums if your plan fit’s your needs. Dental insurance is quite costly and some procedures such as dental implants may not be covered which means that you’ll still have to pay out of your own pocket for some of the most expensive treatments. Since there are very few companies that offer dental insurance – you’ll be looking at some hefty premiums regardless of which provider you choose to go with. In additional, even the best plans on the market will carry an annual payout limit which means that if the work really gets expensive your policy won’t be able to save you completely.
If you’ve sustained damaged to your teeth as a result of an accident you are entitled to claim from the ACC or, Accident Compensation Corporation which will certainly help cover the cost of your dental treatments. If you had decay and other dental problems prior to the accident the ACC will not cover this unrelated treatment even though it may be impossible to repair the accident related damage without doing the same for the non-accident related damage. In addition any emergency treatment will be subsidized by the government if you’re considered to be a low-income citizen.
Children up to the age of 18 can receive their general dental treatment at school which is free of charge since it’s fully subsidized by the government however; adults are required to pay for their own dental care and work. Children are entitled to free check-ups, x-rays, fillings, extractions, fluoride treatments and plaque cleaning, among many other treatments with the exception of orthodontics which parents will simply have to fork out the cash for. If you do not have health insurance you can still rely on the public health care system to take care of you in an emergency and for the majority of medical procedures and surgeries, even though this isn’t always completely free but when it comes to dental work you are, for the most part on your own.
Before we delve into the world of dental insurance it’s important to go for a preventative approach rather than a cure approach. Firstly, always look after your teeth – never miss your annual dental check-up, get your teeth cleaned when needed, avoid consuming too much sugar and ensure that you brush and floss regularly. If you are keen on getting dental insurance because you either don’t have private health care insurance or perhaps your policy doesn’t cover dental work outside of the regular check-ups and basic work than it will certainly pay to shop around and get a quote from as many insurers as possible. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the cheapest policy is the best since many procedures may be excluded or your cover may be limited to a set amount, (unusually around $10,000) which is certainly enough for most but may mean you’ll have to dig in to your savings if things really go wrong.
Apart from saving you from getting into major debt and possibly entering into a personal financial crisis – dental insurance can help you reduce the costs of those routine dentist check-ups and basic work. It isn’t however, going to be worth it for everyone since it’s quite costly and you may not actually need any specialized work in any given year. If you look after your teeth and have good teeth in your family – you may be better off setting up an emergency fund with a couple extra dollars so that in the event that you require dental care – you’ll be able to afford it. Remember there are many top-of-the-range health insurance policies that do cover the majority of dental treatments and regular, preventative check-ups, cleaning and basic procedures like filing and filling so if you do have medical insurance it’s important to review you policy to find out exactly what you're covered for. The last thing you need is to be denied an expensive claim because you were under the impression that you medical insurance would cover it. Without question, there is still a lot of improvement that needs to be done in both the dental and dental insurance industries of New Zealand and perhaps this will be achieved through some of the latest “pre-payment” plans that some dentists are beginning to offer patients. If nothing else a dental insurance policy can help you maintain your teeth so that the more expensive procedures not covered can be completely avoided.