Regular dental checkups are important. A visit to the dentist can help detect and treat tooth decay and gum disease in its early stages, avoiding pain and extra expenses. Regular dental checkups also allow a dentist and a hygienist to review your oral hygiene to protect your oral and overall health.

The Value of Dental Coverage

Much like health coverage, dental coverage is also important for everyone. During a dental exam, a dental provider can potentially detect signs in the mouth of more than 120 diseases including heart disease and diabetes. This can lead to earlier, less costly, and even life-saving treatment.

Depending on the dental office and local rates, dental care services can start to add up. A routine dental visit, which includes an oral health exam, including an oral cancer screening, x-rays, and a professional cleaning, may cost between $100 and $300 per visit, or an average cost of $200 to $600 per year, if you visit the dentist every 6 months. The cost can increase significantly if additional dental services are required such as deep cleaning, having a cavity filled, or a root canal (CostHelperHealth). Emergency dental visits from a fractured tooth due to a fall or other tooth trauma can also be very costly without dental coverage.

Having a dental plan makes dental care more affordable. This helps reduce out-of-pocket costs, so you pay less for the dental care you need. With a focus on prevention, dental plans cover services such as professional cleanings, and routine exams from 80% to 100%.

Without dental coverage, you would be responsible for the full cost of dental care services and any treatment required. As an adult starting out on your own, the last thing you need is a major dental expense you can’t afford.

Dental Coverage, 26 and Beyond

Many young adults have dental coverage through their parent’s dental insurance plans. Most family dental plans cover young adults through age 26. After your 26th birthday you would need to search for a dental plan on your own. It is important to have dental coverage to continue receiving regular dental care to maintain good oral health. Some adults who develop more complicated oral problems are more likely to skip needed treatment due to the cost, if they don’t have dental coverage.

Where to Find Dental Coverage

You are more likely to visit the dentist when you have dental coverage. Below are helpful resources to help you learn about dental plans and find dental coverage that is right for you.

Covered California. Covered California is the state’s health insurance marketplace where Californians can shop for health plans and access financial help if they qualify for it. Adults can add dental coverage once they have selected a health plan. Click here to learn more.

Medi-Cal Dental Program. Medi-Cal offers free or low-cost health coverage for California residents who meet eligibility requirements. Dental coverage can be added once a health plan has been selected. Dental coverage for adults is offered separately from the Medi-Cal Health Care Program. Click here for more information.

Employer sponsored dental plans. Many companies offer affordable dental plans as part of their employee health benefits package. If you are currently employed, consult with your Human Resources Dept. or an Employee Benefits Representative.

Dental plans. Whether you find dental coverage through your employer, a health insurance marketplace, or another source, it is important to know the basics of how dental plans work. Click here for information from the American Dental Association to help you choose the best plan for your budget and needs.

Need to see a Dentist Now?

If you need to see a dentist, call the Orange County Health Referral Line at 1-800-564-8448. You can also visit a Community Health Center throughout Orange County. Community Health Centers provide quality dental and medical services for people who are uninsured, cannot afford care, have Medi-Cal, or other insurance. Click here to find a center near you.

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