Whether it’s flashing a confident smile, kissing a loved one, or savoring your favorite foods, so many of the good things in life start with strong oral health. And yet nearly half of Americans don’t visit the dentist as often as they should, and millions more don’t have dental insurance. The result can be issues with the teeth and mouth, or worse, given how lack of dental care is linked to higher incidences of heart disease and diabetes.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Even for those without dental insurance, there’s a path to better oral care in the membership plans that are becoming more and more popular within the dental industry. “It’s for patients that do not have a third-party insurance plan, but certainly want to feel like they belong to a dental family,” says Dr. Fred Guerra of Guerra Dental in Colorado Springs.
Guerra’s practice has its own program, the Guerra Dental Membership Plan, which helps uninsured patients receive needed dental care at a discount. If you don’t have dental insurance, should you join a membership plan? In Dr. Guerra’s view, there are four reasons why.
1) It Saves You MoneyThe basics of your dental visit, such as the exam, X-rays and fluoride varnish, are covered as part of the Guerra Dental Membership Plan. It also offers discounts—starting at 20 percent, and climbing to 25 for seniors and 30 for retired military members—on other services like tooth fillings, crowns, root canals, whitening, apparatuses for nighttime snoring or tooth grinding, and periodontal work.
“It’s preventatively focused,” Dr. Guerra says. “In other words, it’s to get your teeth cleaned and X-rays and fluoride and all your doctor checkups, and it’s a certain amount per year if you’re paying cash. But it’s less than that to join the plan, and anything after that is a certain percentage off. So if nothing else, you’re coming in twice a year and getting hygiene visits at less than it would be if you were paying out of pocket. And there are no waiting periods, no exclusions, and no limitations on coverages.”
2) It’s There When You Need itUnexpected dental issues, like a chipped tooth or a sudden pain when biting down, are no fun. But they can be more easily dealt with as part of a program like the Guerra Dental Membership Plan. Not only do you already have a trusted dentist to call upon, but under the plan, emergency exams during office hours are covered at no charge.
“Anybody who’s in that plan is treated like a VIP,” Dr. Guerra says. “That means if they call and they have an issue, we can see them right away.”
3) It Helps Your Overall HealthNot having dental insurance leads some people to delay seeing the dentist, even when they’re experiencing an issue with their teeth. According to the American Dental Association, 42 percent of Americans don’t see a dentist as often as they would like. That includes many of the 75 million Americans without dental benefits, due to the changing nature of insurance plans, more people working as freelancers, job loss due to downsizing, or other reasons.
But delaying or skipping regular dental visits can come with a cost. Those without dental insurance are 67 percent more likely to have heart disease, 50 percent more likely to have osteoporosis, and 29 percent more likely to have diabetes, according to one industry survey. Oral care quite clearly helps people achieve better overall health, and regular preventative visits like those covered under the Guerra Dental Membership Plan are a crucial first step.
4 ) It Helps You Find ‘Your’ DentistAmericans who seek dental care only sporadically may end up at a chain dental facility, where turnover can be high. Joining a program like the Guerra Dental Membership plan helps you find ‘your’ dentist, where you’re familiar and comfortable with the doctor, hygienist, and staff—and makes it more likely you’ll continue to visit them regularly, heading off problems before they start.
“People who go to a chain dental office might or might not see the same dentist every time they go in,” Dr. Guerra says. But visiting the same dentist “gives people a sense of loyalty. They know they have prepaid for their preventative dental care for a year. They feel like they belong someplace. They don’t have to think twice about, ‘Where am I going to go if I have another problem?’ It does give them that sense of belonging.”
Interested in joining the Guerra Dental Membership Plan, or scheduling a visit? Contact Guerra Dental at (719) 888-4098, request an appointment online, or visit their website at GuerraDental.com. Located at 3208 North Academy Blvd., Suite 100, Guerra Dental is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 8 a.m.-4 p.m. on Friday.