Discount Dental Plans for Seniors

by Jodie Norquist - posted 12/14/2012

As we grow older, it's important to pay special attention to our oral health. With proper oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups, we can prevent cavities and gum disease. We also can better manage or slow the progression of many chronic health conditions linked with poor oral hygiene, such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Medicare provides very limited dental care coverage. Medicare won't pay for routine cleanings, fillings or regular check-ups to take care of your teeth. Medicare will pay for some limited dental-related expenses if they are detrimental in protecting your general health or if they are required so that another medical procedure covered by Medicare will be successful. Once this condition is treated, such as radiation or surgery for oral cancer, for example, Medicare usually won't pay for the follow-up dental care. If you required tooth extractions, Medicare would not cover the costs of dentures, as an example.

Unless you purchase a supplemental plan, you'll need to pay 100 percent of the costs for regular dental care and procedures, including cleanings, dental fillings, dentures and tooth extractions. Supplemental policies can help pay for dental services not covered by Medicare. These policies can be cost prohibitive for seniors who can't afford the monthly payments.

For seniors living on a fixed income who can't afford out-of-pocket dental costs, it may mean not going to the dentist at all. This is at a time in their lives when they need dental services the most.

While the numbers of seniors age 65 and older visiting the dentist for regular cleanings and visits has continued to increase throughout the years, nearly one-quarter of seniors, or 23 percent, haven't been to a dentist within the past five years, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.

People 65 and older who had Medicare and private dental insurance were more likely to go to the dentist (48.7 percent) than seniors who did not have private dental insurance (17.1 percent), according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's Medical Expenditure Panel Survey in 2000.

The survey found that seniors also paid higher out-of-pocket expenses for dental care than other age groups. Their payments were significantly higher if they didn't have private dental plans. Those who had Medicare with no private dental insurance paid on average $550 for out-of-pocket dental expenses, compared to seniors on Medicare with other dental plans who paid an average of $164 for out-of-pocket dental expenses. Seniors are continuing to pay more for dental expenses. These average out-of-pocket dental costs jumped from $384 in 1996 to $550 in 2000, the survey reported.

An Affordable Alternative To Dental Insurance for Seniors

There are less costly alternatives to dental insurance for seniors. A discount dental plan can help supplement the needs of today's seniors, providing significant savings for those who don't qualify or can't afford private dental insurance.

A discount dental plan is a way to receive discounted services every time you visit the dentist's office. Participating dentists have agreed on a contractual basis to provide discounted prices to plan members.  Discount dental plan members pay a monthly fee that varies, depending on the services and number of family members on the dental plan. When you visit a dentist within the discount dental plan network you'll receive the same dental services at a lower rate. There is no extra paperwork to fill out; you'll just receive a discount, a savings from 20 to 60 percent off of your dental bill.

If you don't have senior dental insurance or have reached the annual maximum limit on your plan, you will likely find discount dental plans a great way to lower your dental care costs.

Save with a Discounted Senior Dental Plan

A discount dental plan offers discounts on:

  • Dental exams and cleanings
  • Major dental work, including root canals, dentures and crowns

Here at you can find a whole range of discount health care programs. These discount plans range from discounted dental services to plans that offer both dental and vision discounts to a comprehensive discount plan for dental, vision and other healthcare discounts for you and your entire family.

Discount dental plans can be used immediately. If you're suffering from tooth pain and need to see a dentist, you can purchase a discount dental plan and go take care of your toothache the same day. You also can add a spouse or other family members to your discount dental plan. There are no limits on the amount of discounts you receive under these discounted plans.

Stop putting off that necessary trip to the dentist. If you are a senior who is underinsured or uninsured, a discount dental plan could help buffer the financial burden of out-of-pocket dental expenses.

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