Plenty of people remain unaware that their dental insurance benefits tend to run out by December 31st every year, and if you don’t use them, you will lose them! Fortunately, we’re here to help remind you. Before the year is over, your child should have had a dental checkup at least twice (once every six months, or more often if recommended). This helps ensure that their teeth and gums are healthy, and if there is an issue that will cause pain in the future, it can be addressed as soon as possible. Plus, most (not all) dental insurance plans cover preventive care visits (bi-annual dental check-up and cleaning appointment) at 100%!
What Should My Child Have Completed Before My Dental Insurance Benefits Expire?
We recommend that the following treatments should be completed by the end of the year (if they have not already been completed):
At least TWO dental check-ups
Kids should have at least two dental visits within a year, approximately every six months (or more frequently, as directed by the dentist or hygienist). During the bi-annual check-up, your pediatric dentist will examine the entire mouth to check for gum disease, cavities, abnormalities, etc. as well as do a thorough cleaning of the teeth.
Fluoride helps to prevent cavities in both kids’ and adults’ teeth. Fluoride varnish is a quick and painless varnish that is simply painted over the teeth and left to sink into the enamel for about 20 minutes, then lightly rinsed out. Depending on the type of fluoride varnish used, your child may be asked to refrain from eating anything crunchy or sticky until the next morning, and/or no brushing for at least 2 hours afterwards.
Dental Sealants (If they haven’t had them yet)
Dental sealants are another preventive care treatment that are quick and painless and help reduce cavities in the permanent molars and pre-molars by up to 80%. Dental sealants are painted onto the teeth and cured with a light to solidify the sealant. While fluoride varnish helps greatly, dental sealants provide a more permanent protection from cavities, and usually last for years to come. If your child has already had dental sealant treatment, they likely won’t need it again for at least 5 years- so this is not an annually-needed treatment. Likewise, if they have not had dental sealant treatment yet, this would be the time to ask your dentist about it, while you still have dental benefits left.
X-Rays (If Needed)
During certain stages of a child’s life, they will need specific dental x-rays to check on how the teeth are forming, growing in, and to help check for issues that can’t be seen with the naked eye. Depending on your child’s case, the last time they had x-rays and their age, they may need x-rays at least once within the year.
Dr. Sybil Padavathil is a pediatric dentist in Garden City, NY at Advanced Children’s Dentistry where she provides an educational, safe and kid-friendly dental experience. Schedule your child’s pediatric dental appointment at 516-758-KIDS (5437).