Dental vs. medical insurance: Where do the two diverge?

The ACA is designed to provide a greater access to healthcare, and in many ways, it does. However, there is still a large gap in the access to dental care and dental insurance.

While many employers offer dental insurance, often it does not cover major dental procedures. David Tuller, a 61-year old San Francisco resident, experienced the realities of dental insurance after undergoing major restorative surgery, according to CNN. Mr. Tuller worked at UC Berkeley, which capped dental coverage at $1,500. For many, this is an average dental insurance plan. However, for people similar to the Mr. Tuller dental insurance does not help with major restoration surgeries.

Mr. Tuller didn't have bad oral hygiene. He used his dental insurance coverage to go to the dentist for preventative visits. However, when he turned 40 years old, Mr. Tuller developed an advanced case of periodontitis. He needed multiple extractions, titanium implants in his jaw, porcelain teeth for implants, bone grafts and various gum surgeries. Since his original diagnosis, Mr. Tuller has spent $55,000 in out-of-pocket costs while having dental insurance, according to CNN.

Countless Americans face the same fate as Mr. Tuller. A study reported by CNN showed in 2015 nearly 35 percent of American working adults did not have dental insurance. This compares to the only 12 percent of American adults who did not have medical insurance.

The lack of access to dental care has caused many patients to seek treatment in other countries or go without. For this reason, dental care and treatment are seen as luxuries rather than necessity. However, an increasing amount of research highlights the relationship between dental care and overall health. Periodontitis is among the dental conditions linked to cause other health complications.

More articles on dentists:
Alabama dentist dies in motorcycle accident
Over the counter pain medication more effective than opioids after all dental procedures, study shows
Western Dental, Henry Schein & more: 5 dental companies making headlines

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