Broker blog from Delta Dental

Tag: client health

How Delta Dental’s expanded pregnancy benefits help protect women’s health

Pregnancy brings about unique physiological changes in a woman’s body, some of which can adversely affect oral health. That’s why Delta Dental offers an enhanced pregnancy benefit to help protect women’s oral and overall health during this crucial time.

Why do pregnant women need additional oral health care?

During pregnancy, several conditions are more common, including:

  •  Gingivitis and gum disease. Changes in hormones during pregnancy can help gingivitis-causing bacteria to grow. This can mean red and bleeding gums and an increased chance of developing gum disease. It’s estimated that nearly 60 to 75% of pregnant women have gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease.
  • Tooth decay and cavities. Increased acidity in the oral cavity, alteration in diet and other physiological changes brought on by pregnancy can increase the risk of tooth decay.
  • Pyogenic granulomas. Also called pregnancy granulomas or “pregnancy tumors,” these small, inflamed nodes of tissue on the gumline affect the mouth of between 2 and 10% of expectant mothers.

Unfortunately, poor oral health during a pregnancy is, in turn, associated with a greater risk for poor outcomes during childbirth, including preterm birth and low birth weight. Clearly, maintaining good oral health is crucial during pregnancy.

What’s covered by Delta Dental’s enhanced pregnancy benefit?

Keeping teeth and gums clean is of utmost importance, so additional services are covered for women during pregnancy as follows:

  • One additional exam AND
  • One additional routine cleaning or gum care

How do members use the benefit?

Pregnant women can simply inform their dentist that they’re pregnant in order to be covered for the additional services. The dentist then submits a claim along with written confirmation of pregnancy for the additional benefits to be applied.

Which plans include the enhanced pregnancy benefit?

The enhanced pregnancy benefit is included with group Delta Dental PPO™ and Delta Dental Premier® plans and with individual Basic and Premium PPO plans. At this time, the enhanced benefit is not available to add to DeltaCare® USA plans. To confirm coverage for a client, review the contract for details.

Keeping clients safe through enhanced pregnancy benefits

Make sure your individual and group clients are aware of the importance of taking care of their oral health during pregnancy and remind them how Delta Dental’s enhanced pregnancy benefit can help protect expectant mothers.

3 reasons customers are seeking dental insurance now

The pandemic has changed how we work, how we interact and even how we think about our health and safety. As consumer attitudes toward oral health have changed, dental insurance has become more important than ever. Here are some of the reasons that employers and individuals alike are seeking out dental benefits in 2022 and how you can help meet the new demand.

1. Competitive benefits help employers combat the Great Resignation

The pandemic has triggered an exodus from the workforce that economists have labeled the “Great Resignation.” One of the top reasons employees are giving for leaving a position is lack of adequate benefits. 

As the pandemic reshapes the labor market, companies must rethink and retool their benefit offerings to attract and retain talent. About 37% of employees in a recent survey said they value stronger benefits over additional salaries or bonuses, and they consistently rank dental insurance as one of the most important benefits in making a job decision.

Employers who offer dental insurance want a plan that stands out. With Delta Dental, you can help your group clients create plans with the attractive added benefits that employees are seeking now, like maximum waivers for diagnostic and preventive services and coverage for popular but costly services like implants and orthodontics.

2. Dental health needs have grown

The pandemic has also had a direct effect on oral health, creating another reminder of the value of dental insurance. A 2021 survey conducted by the American Dental Association showed a major increase, up to 71%, in stress-related oral health conditions during the pandemic, and more than a quarter of the dentists surveyed reported an increase in cavities and gum disease, as well.

Even in the midst of the pandemic, those with insurance remained more likely to visit the dentist than those without, thereby increasing the likelihood for positive health outcomes when faced with these new challenges.

Companies are seeking to bulk up their benefits to attract and retain employees, and workers are likewise seeking strong dental packages to handle the health issues arising due to the pandemic. Match clients with the dental coverage they’re looking for with Delta Dental PPO™ and DeltaCare® USA plans, which can meet these new demands and reduce the chances for serious (and expensive) health issues down the line.

3. Patients value teledentistry as an option

Fear of returning to the dentist caused teledentistry to boom during the pandemic, with more patients using the technology than ever before. For instance, Delta Dental’s synchronous and asynchronous teledentistry claims in 2021 were six times and two times higher than 2019 levels, respectively.

Many consumers grew accustomed to using teledentistry during the pandemic, and they want to have it as an option moving forward for its safety and convenience. Satisfaction levels with teledentistry services during the COVID-19 pandemic were 100% in the satisfied and very satisfied categories, according to one recent study, and 96% of participating patients in another study said they would use the service again.

When your clients are covered under a Delta Dental PPO or Delta Dental Premier plan, they have two options for free-to-access, easy-to-use teledentistry platforms:

  • Virtual Consult. Offers patients a consultation with a Delta Dental dentist about dental issues over live video.
  • Toothpic. Offers patients a format to submit photos to receive personalized treatment recommendations from a Delta Dental dentist within 24 hours.

And with Delta Dental, members can still see a dentist in person after choosing a virtual dentistry appointment.

Reminding clients of the convenience, popularity and safety of teledentistry can help make a comprehensive dental insurance package that much more attractive. Delta Dental plans give you access to the technology that your clients want now.

Your clients need dental benefits in a post-pandemic world

The pandemic has changed some of Americans’ central attitudes toward dental benefits. Employers are looking to add or increase benefits, and individuals have started to realize the long-term advantages of maintaining their oral health through robust coverage.

With Delta Dental, you can help your clients find affordable, highly rated coverage and a large network of experienced providers. Check out Delta Dental’s wealth of sales resources, and be sure to talk to your group and individual clients about the importance of dental insurance to help them select a Delta Dental plan that can support their overall needs.

Gum disease and the overall health connection

When people want to improve their health, they often focus on improving their diet, starting an exercise program or quitting bad habits like smoking.

However, few people realize that their gums are also a crucial part of their overall well-being. Many serious health conditions have been linked to gum disease. It’s clear that oral health is integral to overall health. This February for Gum Disease Awareness Month, learn how Delta Dental coverage can support your clients’ gum health and their overall wellness.

The connection between gum disease and overall health

Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is a common bacterial infection that causes a chronic inflammation of the gums and surrounding tissue. It’s the major cause of adult tooth loss, and it affects nearly half of people over 30, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The effects of gum disease extend well beyond the mouth. Gum disease has been linked to a number of serious health conditions, including:

  • Heart disease, heart attack and stroke. Inflammation from bacteria in the gums may eventually lead to narrowing of arteries and heart trouble.
  • Dementia. Chronic gum inflammation can be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease later in life.
  • Glaucoma. Tooth loss and gum disease may increase the risk of this disease of the optic nerve.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. The bacterium that causes periodontal disease may increase the severity of rheumatoid arthritis, lead to an earlier onset of the disease and cause symptoms to progress more quickly.
  • Diabetes. People with diabetes are at increased risk of developing gum disease. In turn, having gum disease can make your blood glucose harder to control.
  • Premature birth and low birth weight. Pregnant women are at increased risk of gum disease due to hormonal changes and increased blood flow. Gum disease is associated with an increased risk of preterm birth, as well as low birth weight and other pregnancy complications.

Preventing gum disease and treating the condition early can reduce health costs, dental treatments and medical expenses in the long term.

How Delta Dental coverage can support gum health

Delta Dental offers coverage that can help your group and individual clients avoid the onset and development of gum disease. Routine dental checkups and cleanings, covered by all Delta Dental plans as diagnostic and preventive services, can help prevent and monitor gum disease.

Treatments for gum disease, such as scaling and root planing, are typically covered under most dental plans under periodontic services. Following a scaling and root planing, a patient with gum disease may receive specialized deep cleanings for periodontal maintenance. This procedure, likewise covered under most plans, can minimize the recurrence or progression of gum disease.

However, when non-surgical treatment is inadequate, Delta Dental’s standard plans offer several surgical treatments to slow down or prevent the progression of the disease. Common procedures include:

  • Gingivectomy. Diseased gum tissue is removed and reshaped to get rid of pockets between the teeth and gums.
  • Gingival flap surgery. Gum tissue is separated from surrounding teeth and deflected back to allow a dental surgeon access to the jawbone and the root of the tooth for deep scaling and root planning.
  • Osseous surgery. Also called pocket reduction surgery, this procedure eliminates the bacteria populating the pockets by cutting the gums to remove the bacteria and repair the damaged bone.
  • Bone grafting. This procedure increases the amount of bone in a part of the jaw where bone has been lost or where additional support is needed. Bone may be taken from elsewhere in the body and surgically fused to existing bone in the jaw.

In addition, your group clients can opt in to SmileWay® Wellness Benefits which offer expanded coverage for gum treatment for members with chronic conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, rheumatoid arthritis and stroke.

Everyone deserves healthy gums. Be sure to talk to your group and individual clients about the importance of gum health and how to select a Delta Dental plan that can support their overall health needs.

Plan your wellness calendar for 2022

As your group clients prepare for a productive 2022, you may ask yourself what you can do to help them stay informed and healthy this year. Well, you’re in luck! Delta Dental offers an assortment of themed wellness materials that enables you to offer clients relevant wellness content all year.

For a quick look at the topics covered in 2022, download the PDF.

Wellness is health approached from a holistic perspective. From holidays to awareness months, we offer plenty of opportunities to remind clients to take care of both their oral health and their total well-being. You can choose campaigns from Glaucoma Awareness Month in January to holiday health in December, and each campaign is supported by a variety of multimedia assets.

This year’s calendar includes the following new campaigns:

  • Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month (March)
  • World Oral Health Day (March 20)
  • Mental Health Awareness Month (May)
  • Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October)
  • National Brush Day (Nov. 1)

Whether your clients work in an office or from home, whether they want to watch a wellness video or read a flyer, we offer materials to suit your needs. Visit the wellness calendar and you’ll find:

  • Emails
  • Flyers
  • Posters
  • Booklets
  • Infographics
  • Videos

Our new 2022 calendar is available now, and full of great resources and materials to share with clients. From January through December, let’s make 2022 a great year for oral health and total body wellness.

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