Make Sure to Get a Cleaning Before the End of the Year — And Your Dental Insurance Benefits Run Out

December 17, 2021

With the end of the year approaching, it is the perfect time to make sure that you make the most of this year’s insurance benefits. In most cases, if you don’t use your benefits by the end of the year, they will expire. This means that it is the perfect time to get a final dental cleaning of the year, assuming you still have one left that insurance will cover.

The Cleaning Is Likely Covered – And Benefits Don’t Roll Over

The biggest reason to go get a cleaning before the end of the year is that your insurance will likely cover it. Most dental insurance providers will cover up to two cleanings per year. If you’ve only had one, you are missing out on a service that is essentially free to you.

By the end of the year, you will have likely already met your deductible, so you will probably only have a small co-pay, if anything.

The important add-on is that if you don’t use your benefits, they disappear at the end of the year. Your benefits will not roll over. So, imagine you get two covered cleanings per year. You are due for one at the end of the year. Instead of having it done in December, you wait until January. That then becomes one of the covered cleanings for 2022. If you need more than one after that, you have to pay out-of-pocket. By contrast, if you get your cleaning done in December, you will still have two covered cleanings in 2022. That will save you money if the timing lines up and you need more than two cleanings in 2022.

You can also look at it from the perspective of wasted money. You already paid the premiums for your insurance, so you already paid for the cleanings. Not using them wastes a service that you already paid for.

Your Dentist May Find a Covered Issue

You should also remember that a dental cleaning is so much more than just cleaning your teeth. It is a chance for Dr. Dhiraj Sharma to look at your teeth, gums, and the rest of your mouth. As such, it is a chance for him to confirm that your mouth is healthy and that you don’t need any other work done. While you hope nothing else is required, it’s smart to prepare in case that isn’t true.

Think about what happens if your dentist notices you need a filling, a root canal, or something else. Then, think about your annual deductible and coverage limits.

If You Get It Fixed at the End of the Year

As with cleanings, if you haven’t met your annual coverage limit yet, it makes all the sense in the world to have your additional dental needs taken care of before 2021 ends. That’s because your dental insurance will cover all or most of the procedures in question, whether it is filling a cavity or something else. The result is potentially no out-of-pocket costs, except perhaps a small co-pay.

If You Wait Until Next Year

Contrast that with what would happen if you waited to get your crown, root canal, filling, or other treatment until next year. (And remember that if you don’t get a cleaning this year, you may not even know you need more treatment.)

The only bonus is that you definitely won’t have met your annual maximum yet. However, you also won’t have met your deductible. Depending on your deductible, you may have to pay for the entire treatment out-of-pocket. At the very least, you would have to pay for most of it yourself.

Even the fact that you haven’t met your annual maximum yet isn’t necessarily a good thing. That’s because you will be starting off the year with a treatment that uses a large portion of this. That means that if you need more treatments later in the year, they may not be covered.

It’s a Smart Financial Decision

Because of those above reasons, it is simply a smart financial decision to use up all of your dental benefits before the year ends. This includes getting a dental cleaning and handling any other dental treatments you need. Otherwise, you will be paying for services you don’t take full advantage of.

Potential Fee Increases or Insurance Policy Changes

Don’t forget that both your dentist and your insurance company may make changes in the new year. For example, dentists occasionally need to increase their fees to account for inflation. They will usually do so at the beginning of the year, as this is the most logical time to do so.

There’s also a chance that your insurance policy will change the details of its coverage at the start of the new year. For example, they may increase your deductible or co-pay. Cleaning your teeth before the year ends lets you take advantage of the old, less-costly policies.

Remember the Importance of Cleanings

In addition to the insurance-related and financial aspects of getting your teeth cleaned before the end of the year, don’t forget about its importance for your dental health. You should have your teeth cleaned at least twice a year.

Healthier, Whiter Teeth

During a cleaning, the dental hygienist removes plaque and stains on your teeth, including those that you can’t remove at home, as they require specialized tools. You will also typically end up with a whiter smile with regular cleanings.

Spot Issues Before They Get Worse

There’s also the fact that having your teeth cleaned gives you the chance to have a dentist spot any potential problems. This is crucial as dental issues can worsen over time. They may even cause other health issues. For example, there is a connection between gum disease and heart disease.

The Cleaning Is Just in Time for the Holidays

As yet another bonus, if you get your teeth cleaned right before the holiday season, you can make sure that you get all the sugar off your teeth from Halloween and get them ready for the winter holidays. Think of a timely cleaning as a way to prepare your mouth for winter sweets.


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