When you’re building benefits packages for your group clients, are you thinking about teenagers? With a variety of clients from individuals to groups, it’s likely your benefits package will be covering at least a few dependent teenagers. Here are some common dental concerns that teenagers face and how you can develop a better benefits package to help.

1. Cavities

With teens’ love of snacking and their inconsistent brushing habits, it should be no surprise that dental decay is the most common chronic disease in young people. Sealants are an easy way to stop cavities before they start. These thin coatings are painted on the chewing surfaces of teeth and can prevent cavities for years, which means that sealants applied during childhood can help during the teen years.

2. Misaligned teeth

Permanent teeth replace baby teeth in older children, and the jawbones can continue to grow until the end of puberty. A misalignment of the teeth and jaws may get better ― or worse ― by the time the jawbones have stopped growing.

Without coverage, prospective orthodontic patients can expect to pay between $3,000 and $6,000 depending on their age. Delta Dental plans can help cut these costs in half. Orthodontic coverage is available under all DeltaCare USA group plans and can be optionally included in any Delta Dental PPO group plan.

3. Impacted wisdom teeth

Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to develop and erupt into the mouth, usually in the late teens. Since the jaw is still growing, wisdom teeth are sometimes impacted, meaning they don’t have enough room to emerge or develop normally. Almost 5 million people get wisdom teeth removed every year in the United States.

Wisdom teeth extraction can be expensive. If it’s viable for some clients, consider building a plan that covers a higher percentage of the cost of wisdom teeth extractions. If a higher percentage of coverage isn’t a possibility, lower deductibles can help families as well, by letting them pay less out of pocket before they reach their deductible.

4. Eating disorders

About 9% of Americans will develop an eating disorder at some point in their life, often in their teenage years. Eating disorders are life-threatening conditions that can have serious consequences for oral health and overall health. They can cause nutritional deficiencies that  the mouth, as well as sensitive teeth, frequent cavities and dry mouth as a result of purging.

Dentists can be a great ally in the fight against the effects of eating disorders like bulimia (PDF) by identifying signs of the disorder, like eroded enamel and damaged gums, and offering sealants and fluoride treatments. These treatments can help reduce the damage that stomach acid causes when someone vomits. Most plans cover sealants and fluoride treatments until patients turn 15. If you’re also handling your clients’ health care package, you may also consider covering mental health treatment that can help to treat the illness altogether.

What else can you do to support teens’ dental health?

While these problems aren’t unique to adolescents, it’s still a good idea to have these in mind when considering your clients’ dental benefits. If you’re in a position to share tips with group benefits administrators, consider distributing resources that highlights plan features like teledentistry, which could be helpful for busy teens and their parents.

You can also share wellness resources like Delta Dental’s wellness library. It may be helpful to create a template email that you send to your individual clients with dependent children that highlights plan features and helpful information to keep their children healthy and smiling.