Going to college brings about many new challenges, whether it’s adjusting to a studying routine, an unfamiliar city, or newfound independence. On top of that, many students have to learn how to manage finances, too. From tuition and books to groceries, college has many expenses that you probably didn’t have to deal with previously. With these new responsibilities coming your way, dental insurance likely isn’t top of mind. However, it’s important for everyone to have! If your school is offering student dental plans and you’re wondering whether to accept or waive coverage, keep in mind some benefits of having a plan.
3 benefits of dental insurance for college students
Promotes better health
A 2019 study found that 31.3% of college students have untreated dental issues1, which is partly because many fail to get regular dental cleanings2. These problems, which include cavities and gum disease, not only cause discomfort but are also more costly than preventative steps such as brushing, flossing, and biannual dental visits. Dental benefits help you stave off these problems and maintain a healthy mouth. During twice-yearly dental exams and cleanings, a dentist or hygienist can remove cavity-causing plaque and tartar as well as check for gum disease, oral cancer, crowded teeth, and other potential problems. Strong dental care also benefits overall health, reducing the long-term risk of conditions such as heart disease and diabetes3. Even better, preventative appointments are often covered by insurance at 100%, meaning you can get them for no out-of-pocket cost*.
Learn more about what to expect during a dental cleaning.
Allows for easier managing of dental expenses
Without dental benefits, even routine cleanings can get pricey. A 2016 study of 600 dental practitioners found that the charge for a cleaning is between $88 and $140 on average4. If you experience dental issues — whether it be painful cavities, injuries during intramural sports, or other dental emergencies — the cost is even higher. Benefits are also important to consider for those with a history of dental issues. For example, dry mouth can raise the risk of developing cavities and, therefore, more dental bills. Insurance is an important safety blanket that can significantly reduce expenses for college students on tight budgets.
Provides access to nearby dentists
Many students choose to attend a college far away from their parents. In some cases, this can leave you without an in-network dentist nearby, which may force you to pay more to visit an out-of-network provider* or drive a long way for an in-network appointment. Getting dental coverage through your university may give you more in-network options close to campus, helping save money on both appointments and gas!
While dental coverage may seem like just another expense for a college student, the benefits often outweigh the costs. And don’t worry; selecting and managing a plan is easy. Enrollment, automatic payments, and customer support are all available online, eliminating any added stress and providing more time for important things — like studying!
Want to learn more about dental benefits before making your decision? Check out our glossary of common dental insurance terms to familiarize yourself with the lingo!