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I've Never Had a Cavity. Do I Need Dental Insurance?

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Updated February 15, 2009

Question: I've Never Had a Cavity. Do I Need Dental Insurance?
When looking to cut costs, dental insurance may be something you consider nixing from your budget -- or never opting for in the first place. But having that coverage is something you may want to strongly consider before making a quick decision.
Answer:

The answer to whether or not you need dental insurance depends on how much risk you're comfortable with taking.

Whether you purchase your own insurance, or you sign up for insurance through your employer during open enrollment, cost is more than likely on your mind.

Though you may have not incurred many dental expenses in the past, those who have never had a cavity before may not realize how much dental care costs if the unexpected happens. For example, a crown can cost anywhere from $500 to $3,000 per tooth, depending on what materials are used and how complex your particular case may be.

Even if you are diligent about oral hygiene, you never know when an accident might happen. For example, I once damaged a tooth during a high school gym class and needed a root canal and apical surgery to fix it. This had nothing to do with my oral hygiene habits, and everything to do with the lacrosse ball that hit me in the face. Accidents happen, and we can't prevent all of them.

Most dental insurance plans provide coverage for routine check-ups, as well as more extensive work, such as fillings and crowns. In many cases, this coverage is available at a reasonable premium for those who sign up through their employer. Similar dental insurance policies are also available for individual purchase if your job does not offer coverage.

Before rejecting dental coverage, I recommend that you consider whether you would be comfortable paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars on dental care should you finally get a cavity or have an accident that damages your teeth. Dental insurance could help provide you with the peace of mind you need to feel financially secure.

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