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Old 07-02-2008, 03:02 PM   #21
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This was a no-brainer decision for us. DW's school system offered teachers Aetna family dental coverage that essentially covered 100% of all dental costs. While she was working it cost $33 per month. After she retired it went down to only $17 per month. A gold crown, which would have cost us $900 without the insurance, was covered completely, recouping all of the premiums we paid. Since then, we have each had another crown.

Unfortunately, this dental coverage was the only worthwhile aspect of the state retirement system for teachers. DW, after full career as a special ed teacher, draws a total annual pension of only $7500.
Companies and governments factor in the cost of your dental insurance when they calculate maximum gross pay for an employee.

Employees look at dental insurance as a benefit. I, as a business owner and employer, look at it as a wasted expense for both me and any of my employees. I would rather educate them to show them why it would make more sense for them to receive an extra dollar as part of their normal wages rather than allocate it to subsidize their dental insurance.

If the cost of dental insurance is not worth the benefit as most people stated in this thread, why would it be any different when it's camouflaged as an "employee benefit?"
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Old 07-02-2008, 04:25 PM   #22
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My dental insurance(cobra) runs out 10/1 of this year. Over the past several months, I have tried to take care of all my crown issues while I still have the insurance. Sooooo, I'm hoping I will be in good shape for quite some time before anything major comes my way again. Oh yeah, my previous employer has been nice enough to take care of all the premiums since I retired. I hope they won't try to use this as leverage to try and hire me back in case my replacement suddenly decides to leave. Because it won't work!
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Old 07-02-2008, 05:29 PM   #23
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I don't have dental insurance now, while I am working (since we do not have subsidized dental insurance). I don't plan to get it when I am retired. I expect a certain amount of "unexpected expenses", such as a crown or such as my A/C needing replacement, or my TV blowing up, or similar big ticket items.

If a year goes by with none of these, I use those funds for something else that is probably needed eventually but less urgent. A few years ago that was upgrading from fuses to circuit breakers. This year it was replacing a couple of somewhat unnecessary doors that Katrina blew off.
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Old 07-02-2008, 07:28 PM   #24
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When I took my first ER the company had a "take it now or leave it forever" dental insurance offer which I took so I would not lose it. I have run the numbers several times and over the 5 years I have been on it I have used more of their money than mine so it seems to be a good value for me so far.

The family teeth genes are somewhat defective so there are still a few teeth left that may need crowns and a root canal here or there. A single crown pays back all my annual premium and that is without considering 2 free annual exams and biannual Xrays.

I will keep it for now unless the rates go up too much.
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Old 07-03-2008, 02:02 AM   #25
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46 dollars a month for 30 years at 8% is over 68,000 dollars.
Hey Pete.....out of that $46 /month you'd have to pay for dental work anyway. Unless you go 30 years with no visits to a dentist. (Not to hijack this thread, but where can you get 8% after tax guaranteed for 30 years? ):confused:

In an earlier post on this thread, I was considering stopping my Delta dental insurance since I pay $46 /month for their $1200 cap.

Looking at the math again - I've decided it is worth it to me to keep it because my 2 free cleanings and free X-rays would cost me close to $300 a year out of pocket without the insurance and it's very likely that I will have at least one other procedure each year that will more than pay for my premiums as long as they don't raise them too much.
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Old 07-03-2008, 10:43 AM   #26
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My dental insurance is good oral hygiene (1) brush with Oral B automatic brusher (forgot full name), (2) floss, (3) clean around gums with one of those rubber tipped things. Then there is the oral hygiene appointment which for me still has to be every 6 months because of plaque buildup. And yes, once in awhile I still have to pay for a crown, oh well.

BTW, those automatic brushers beat regular toothbrushes. I held out for years partly because I was too cheap to spring for one but the results are really great. Also the brush replacements bought at Costco seem to be needed only about every 3 months and so it was more cost effective for me.

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Old 07-03-2008, 11:49 AM   #27
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I've seen some plans available online to individuals. They are not dental insurance, just a pre-negotiated set of fees for procedures that dentists agree to accept if you are a "member" of that plan. We've considered this, but I haven't signed up yet. It looks like it might be a good compromise between paying the walk-up rate at the dentist and buying the available Delta Dental insurance (which is overpriced IMO, and provides an "insurance" component we don't really need).

Here's a site listing some of the various plans.
Dental Insurance Alternative – Discount Dental Plans for Individuals and Groups


I haven't done the research to determine how much the costs are reduced, if dentists in our area accept these terms, etc. We don't have a "regular" dentist yet, so we're flexible in that regard.
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Old 07-03-2008, 12:15 PM   #28
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I have belonged in the past to a few of these low cost dental plans . The dentists would stop participating as soon as they had experience. Now I have a quality dentist I'm comfortable with who does not participate in these plans. It's worth a few extra dollars a month to have that confidence. These choppers have to last a lifetime.
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Old 07-03-2008, 06:59 PM   #29
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Thanks so much Ziggy! Your post prompted me to check again the Delta plan's summary of benefits and guess what I didn't realize that it had a maximum benefit of only $1200 per calendar year! I thought it was much, much higher than that! I must have skimmed right over that little "detail" the first time I read it. Then you are right, it's definitely not worth it. Thanks again!
I have the Delta plan with a cap. If I need a crown I have the root canal done in one year (Oct-Dec) and the crown done in the next plan year. I asked my dentist if that was OK to do and he said everybody does it, no problem. If it was a front tooth I might get it all done in one year depending on how vain I felt that year.
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Old 07-03-2008, 08:47 PM   #30
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I got back from the dentist today. Told me two of my fillings would need to be replaced with some new fangled stuff. Total bill over 900 bucks. Good thing we have dental. Only 200 out of pocket I only like insurance when I need to get something done
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Old 07-04-2008, 04:27 AM   #31
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I would never get dental insurance. Doing so reduces my options for where I receive my care. I got my last checkup in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Everyone spoke English and it is a reputable clinic with the latest equipment that does oral surgeries, etc. Total cost for checkup and cleaning was $30. Most places there that do not primarily deal with Westerners are about $15 for the same service.

I am lucky to have good teeth and got everything taken care of on my company's insurance before ER last year.

After talking to many people, I have decided to switch to a pattern of going to the dentist about every 9 months instead of the US dentist recommendation of every 6 months.

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Old 07-04-2008, 06:33 AM   #32
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During the past three years, in anticipation of retirement, my husband and I had all old, worn fillings replaced with new porcelain fillings and crowns and we each have gold crowns on back molars. Our plan didn't pay much - maximum of $1000/year till this year, then $1500 (besides routine xrays and cleanings). We still had to pay beaucoup dollars for the work. Nevertheless, it was something. I've searched through various dental plans for post retirement benefits, and most available to us cost way too much. I found one the other day offered through Pentagon Federal Credit Union (offered by GE Financial) that is affordable, but one is restricted to their list of dentists. So, unless we can find an affordable plan with no restrictions as to which dentist we can see, we'll probably pass for now. We plan to change our 6-month cleaning regimen to 8 or 9 months. This might not work for someone who has periodontal problems.
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Old 07-07-2008, 05:34 PM   #33
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No insurance for me. I'm currently with an expensive dentist who charges about $100 for cleaning and another $100 for the dentist to do his one minute exam. $400 or so per year just for the routine stuff. There are insurance plans that would cover that routine stuff and cost me less, but I decided in the end I'm better off paying out of pocket.

I skip the exam every other time, which saves me about $100/year. And the dentist cuts me deals on major work... we are at the stage where the restorations he originally did are starting to fail. The dentist one time mentioned offhand that the reason they are starting to fail is that the dentist used polymer materials that were not designed to be used the way he used them (in the molars). I think he regrets making that comment, and ever since he said that he has never charged me for any replacement restorations. So we have a good relationship... I stroke his back by not making his office deal with insurance, and he strokes my back by doing major work free or cheaper.

I will say that when I entered FIRE I got much better about brushing my teeth. That's another benefit of not being insured... it motivates me to do my own preventive work better.
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Old 07-16-2008, 05:01 PM   #34
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We just got back from the "Dentist" a couple of hours ago. Went to the local (OSU) School of Dentistry (dental students supervised by very competant dentists) as DW had broke tooth off last week. Due to the broken tooth they took her in as an "emergency without appointment". We were dreading the cost of a possible root canal and capping of the tooth which most for profit dentists in the area wanted from $1,700 - $2,500 and many refused to even quote a price. We do not have dental insurance of any kind (never carried it). DW got the tooth looked at and they were able to save it and there was enough left to be able to "cap" it on the spot. Total Bill was $100 which included $30 for two sets of X-Rays and $9 for parking in the school vistor garage.

If you live near a University that has a dental college it is good idea to check into what they may have to offer.
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Old 07-16-2008, 05:16 PM   #35
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We just got back from the "Dentist" a couple of hours ago. Went to the local (OSU) School of Dentistry (dental students supervised by very competant dentists) as DW had broke tooth off last week. Due to the broken tooth they took her in as an "emergency without appointment". We were dreading the cost of a possible root canal and capping of the tooth which most for profit dentists in the area wanted from $1,700 - $2,500 and many refused to even quote a price. We do not have dental insurance of any kind (never carried it). DW got the tooth looked at and they were able to save it and there was enough left to be able to "cap" it on the spot. Total Bill was $100 which included $30 for two sets of X-Rays and $9 for parking in the school vistor garage.

If you live near a University that has a dental college it is good idea to check into what they may have to offer.
Almost 30 years ago, I had a bunch of work done at OSU (including 3 crowns) for very little money (~$150). They evaluated beforehand to be sure there was not too little or too much work for a semester (year? I forget).
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Old 07-16-2008, 05:36 PM   #36
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...If you live near a University that has a dental college it is good idea to check into what they may have to offer.
Good idea, your thinking outside the box. I know someone who needs some dental work and she has very little money. I'll pass along the idea, thanks!
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Old 07-18-2008, 08:36 PM   #37
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Speaking of crowns and dental implants, my new dentist (who specializes in that vs. drill and fill) is recommending crowns on my remaining teeth and dental implants. It appears to me both appear to be a rather radical procedure. Anybody care to give opines on it or where to go to get some pros and cons?
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Old 07-18-2008, 08:46 PM   #38
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Speaking of crowns and dental implants, my new dentist (who specializes in that vs. drill and fill) is recommending crowns on my remaining teeth and dental implants. It appears to me both appear to be a rather radical procedure. Anybody care to give opines on it or where to go to get some pros and cons?
I would seek out a second opinion if I had a new dentist recommending lots of costly work. Many years ago I went to a new dentist recommended by my physician (a wonderful GP). The new dentist had a guy in there visiting who was obviously some sort of rep for a dental supply company. The dentist recommended much the same thing -- lets do lots of work in your mouth. I remember them both looking at me. It sort gave me a creepy feeling. After that little discussion, I went to a very good dentist with a steady practice and so no motive to improve the bottom line. I didn't say anything about the first dentist's suggestions but my teeth were fine and that was that. Dodged the bullet on that one.
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Old 07-18-2008, 08:58 PM   #39
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Speaking of crowns and dental implants, my new dentist (who specializes in that vs. drill and fill) is recommending crowns on my remaining teeth and dental implants. It appears to me both appear to be a rather radical procedure. Anybody care to give opines on it or where to go to get some pros and cons?
I wonder why a dentist who specializes in crowns and implants would have recommended crowns and implants on your remaining teeth?
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Old 07-18-2008, 09:02 PM   #40
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Still working 18 hours/week. My employer pays all my insurance.
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