Dental benefits

What does preventive dental care cover?

Did you know that every dollar spent on preventive care could help save you money later on procedures that are more urgent, complex and costly? Routine dental checkups, cleanings and sealants can make all the difference when taking care of your oral and overall health. Here’s a breakdown of what's included in that preventive care:

Routine dental checkups and cleanings should be scheduled at least once a year, or more often if you have a high risk of dental disease. Delta Dental’s free LifeSmileTM Score tool can provide a quick look at your current risk that you can then share with your dentist. Most dental plans cover at least two exams and cleanings at little or no out-of-pocket cost. A professional cleaning at your dentist’s office uses special tools to remove tartar and plaque buildup that you aren’t able to remove on your own. This lowers your risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease. While examining your mouth, your dentist can even detect symptoms of other diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and blood disorders like leukemia.

Dental sealants go a step beyond fluoride by providing a thin, plastic coating to the chewing surface of your teeth (typically your back molars) to keep cavities from forming. It’s best to get sealants before cavities can form, so they are usually recommended when molars initially break through (around age 6 for first molars and age 11 or 12 for second molars). Sealants can reduce the risk of tooth decay by 80%.1 Coverage on sealants can vary, but most dental plans cover sealants as preventive care for children under 18 on their first and second molars.

Professional fluoride treatments can be a key defense against cavities if you’re at high risk for decay. Dental plans usually cover these treatments for children. They are suggested for kids 18 and under, and for adults with certain oral conditions, including tooth decay, braces or dry mouth. Professional fluoride treatments have significantly more fluoride than tap water or toothpaste, and take only a few minutes to apply.

X-ray images of your mouth may be taken by your dentist or dental hygienist to better evaluate your oral health. These images go beneath the surface to provide a more detailed look inside your teeth and gums, which helps your dentist identify problems that may be developing. Check your dental plan for details on which X-rays are covered. X-rays may need to be taken more frequently if you are at higher risk for cavities or gum disease.

Preventive dental care keeps your teeth and gums healthy. It can identify potential problems in your mouth and whole body. So schedule a visit to your dentist today if you don't already have one on your calendar.