3 dental insurance deals to put a dent in your post-lockdown dentist trip
Unlock no-waiting-period dental with these offers.
As lockdown restrictions eased in New South Wales on Monday, many people rushed out for their shopping, beauty or beverage fix. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there's been less buzz on sorting out that trip to the dentist, which for many will now be overdue.
However, there's a way you can save at the surgery and offset some of the expense of those nail treatments and tap pours – and, more importantly, take care of your oral health. You just need to know where to look for the right health insurance.
Which insurance plans can help me save on dental?
Dental insurance is a feature available in extras policies. It can be really handy too, given that HealthEngine research has shown the average cost of a dental check-up to be $166. Extras plans also offer insurance for more out-of-hospital healthcare, such as physiotherapy, optical and chiropractic cover.
Some extras policies will pay a percentage of your bill when you visit the dentist. Others pay a certain amount for treatments or services, regardless of what the end bill was.
A common perk to keep an eye out for is no-gap dental, which essentially offers you free routine check-ups up to a limit (often 2) per year. The only catch is that you'll likely have less choice on which dentists you can go to.
Need to book that check-up now?
We've found 3 health insurance brands that currently offer a zero waiting period on general dental treatment.
This policy lets you skip your 2- and 6-month waiting periods on your extras, meaning you can start getting your money back immediately. What's more, you can get a month of free cover (after 60 days) if you're a new member who joins by 4 November.
With Peoplecare, you can get 6 weeks of free cover if you're a new member who buys hospital only or combined hospital & extras cover by 31 October. Once again, you don't have to serve 2- and 6-month waiting periods on extras.
The not-for-profit fund also offers 6 weeks of free cover and has scrapped its 2-month waiting periods on its extras.
T&Cs apply to each offer
Be sure to check in advance which type of dental service is covered by each policy, and note any restrictions or exclusions.
The impacts of lockdown on our oral health
Dr Katrina Zhao, Principal Dentist and MD at Midas Dental, said she'd noticed an increase in "teeth grinding" and the "chipping or cracking of teeth" due to the mental stressors of lockdown, pointing to increased levels of social isolation and uncertainty and fear of Covid.
"I have also heard that many people have neglected brushing their teeth during lockdown, as they don't see other people face-to-face [as much] and are not as motivated to have fresher breath", said Dr Zhao, who runs two Sydney-based practices. She added: "Skipping routine cleans or delaying cleans could put your oral health at risk of gum disease."
Why it's so important not to miss your dental check-ups
Bupa's head dentist, Cathryn Madden, told Finder: "Now's the time to get your oral health routine back on track and make sure you have a dental check-up planned for the coming months."
Madden noted the importance of people "of all ages" visiting their dentist to protect their health and said figures suggested over 60% of adults haven't seen a dentist for at least 2 years.
"There is no doubt that looking after your teeth and gums enhances your general health with chronic issues such as diabetes and heart disease both being linked to gum inflammation and periodontal disease," Madden added.
"Your dentist will also carry out an oral cancer screening at your check-up."
Compare basic dental cover from as little as $13 per month.