COVID-19 has significantly impacted dental care in America. A 2018 study by Guardian shows that even before this pandemic, one in four Americans with employer-provided dental insurance hadn’t had a dental cleaning in the prior 12 months and almost 50 million had not visited a dentist in the prior 24 months. During the current crisis, dental care has screeched to a halt. In the best of times, a dental visit is avoided by many. In the worst of times, Americans don’t seem to feel it’s worth the risk of exposure to the virus.
Viewpoints from Craig Hasday
Dental offices have been open throughout the shutdown for emergency services; however, judging by the claims experience reviews I’ve been conducting for clients, very few have deemed cleanings to be essential.
Now that dental offices have reopened in most states, it’s time to reemphasize the importance of proper preventive care.
Dental office protocols have adapted to the threat of disease spread. Patients are asked to wear masks before and after treatment. Dental offices have enhanced their focus on cleaning and have increased ventilation to minimize risk. Treating professionals are wearing more and better personal protection equipment (PPE) which includes items like masks, gowns, glasses and face shields. Hygienists are reducing the use of ultrasound cleaning devices that spray water to remove plaque and have focused more on hand cleaning. Office wait times have been eliminated or substantially reduced. Dental offices are as safe as they can be, so now is the time to restart your dental care routine.
It is important to realize that preventive care will help avoid major costly procedures in the future.
For example, full mouth reconstruction could cost $45,000 to $80,000 and most dental plans have annual coverage limits of $2,500 or less. But more significantly, dental disease has shown to increase risks of cancer and heart disease. In fact, patients with gum disease are 24% more likely to develop various forms of cancer. The gums are also the gateway to the heart. Allowing diseased particles to flow through the bloodstream can lead to adverse conditions.
Good dentistry allows unimpeded speech, smiling, tasting, chewing, swallowing, and articulation of facial expressions. Call your dentist for an appointment today and urge employees to do the same. Your future health will be better off.
Check out our COVID-19 employer resources for employee benefits and risk management on the EPIC dedicated coronavirus webpage
See results from our In It Together COVID-19 pulse surveys by visiting epicbrokers.com/insights/preparing-for-the-new-normal
President, National Employee Benefits Practice