When explaining the value of a dental plan to group members, you may come up against resistance. People often understand that they need health insurance, but they may not recognize the value of dental insurance. But dental coverage not only helps members protect their teeth. It can also save them money and prevent a mouthful of financial problems.

Let’s crunch the numbers

For about $33 per month — the average premium for a member covered under an employer-sponsored Delta Dental PPO™ plan — group members can receive coverage for a variety of dental services. That’s the cost of two sugar-filled lattes every week. And what will that cover?

New patients typically need dental exams, cleanings and x‑rays. Uninsured patients might pay an average of $95 for an exam, $172 for a set of four bitewing x‑rays and $102 for a professional cleaning.

If you add up the numbers, that’s $369 for one visit — almost an entire year’s worth of premiums. Considering they’ll usually need two cleanings per year, the costs could potentially add up to $566 for an uninsured person.

But under most Delta Dental PPO plans, diagnostic and preventive services are covered at 100%. That means that even with premiums, patients will be paying 30% less than they would out of pocket.

These costs are illustrative, and plan coverage varies.

Serious dental procedures add up

The value of dental insurance, however, goes beyond diagnostic and preventive care.

Filling a cavity can cost an uninsured patient anywhere from $243 to $296, depending on how many surfaces need to be filled. That same procedure for an insured patient may cost about $30, based on Delta Dental PPO nationwide averages. That’s $266 in savings for each filling.

A root canal and a crown for an uninsured patient may cost about $2,644. But for Delta Dental PPO members, out-of-pocket costs average $564 — which means $2,080 in savings.

And Delta Dental members enjoy additional savings. In-network dentists can’t charge members above preapproved, discounted rates. For uninsured patients, there are no limits to what dentists can charge them.

Dental insurance equals healthier teeth

Adults with dental coverage are almost a third more likely to go to the dentist as those without coverage, according to a 2020 report released by Delta Dental Plans Association. How does this affect group members’ pocketbooks?

Untreated dental care can be costly. More than a quarter of all Americans have untreated tooth decay, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Almost half of all people over 30 years old have signs of gum disease. The less likely members are to visit a dentist, the more likely they are to have costly problems that will eventually need to be treated.

Remember these stats when you’re talking about dental insurance with your group clients. It’s not just about peace of mind. It really makes financial sense to get coverage, and it may even encourage members to go to the dentist and keep their teeth and gums healthy.