Seven Tips for Seniors on How to Select Dental Insurance

As a parent and possibly a grandparent, you’ve spent a lifetime reminding your children and grandkids about the importance of taking care of their teeth.  You understand the power of a bright, healthy smile and the doors it can open for a person throughout their lifetime, from meeting that special someone to landing a job.

No matter your age, oral health is a key contributor to your overall health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one-third of adults, 65 years or older, have untreated dental cavities, and more than 40 percent have periodontal disease, which could lead to the loss of their teeth.

As many seniors move out of the workplace, they allow their employer-provided dental insurance to lapse, only to find out that Medicare does not cover routine dental care such as teeth cleaning and fillings and often the lower cost insurance plans do not provide comprehensive coverage.

According to the, a new website by Delta Dental of Minnesota, seniors should not wait until they experience painful tooth decay necessitating in major work to secure dental insurance. Not only can these painful issues often be avoided by preventative care, but also your dental provider can uncover more serious health problems such as heart disease, diabetes or certain types of cancer. Also, seniors who have let their insurance lapse often are vulnerable to making quick decisions about dental insurance, which may result in misinformation or inadequate coverage, when faced with an unexpected and painful dental situation. offers these tips for seniors on how to find dental insurance that will provide the coverage they need and best fits their budget:

  1. Ask your dentist. If you like your current dentist, ask about what dental plan he or she belongs to, and recommends.

  2. Involve your kids or a friend. Ask your kids, friends or former co-workers for recommendations on dental insurance plans.

  3. Choose a plan for seniors. It’s not likely that you’ll need braces, so as you research dental insurance plans, look for plans that are specifically designed to meet the dental needs of seniors.  Don’t pay for features that you won’t need anytime soon.

  4. Carefully compare the features of dental insurance plans under consideration. Involve your spouse, a friend or one of your adult children to review the features of each plan to understand the monthly premiums, co-pays and any extra costs that may come up for more serious dental work.

  5. Insurance that travels with you. The last place you want to deal with a dental emergency is when you’re traveling. If travel will be a big part of your life in retirement, make sure your dental insurance plan covers dental emergencies wherever you are traveling, including other countries.

  6. Be prepared to pay extra.  If you’d like to have your teeth whitened to remove coffee or tea stains, or you’d like veneers to improve your smile, it’s likely that your dental plan will not cover these cosmetic procedures and you’ll need to pay out of your own pocket.

  7. Leverage your membership.  If you’re a member of AARP, you may be eligible for dental insurance plans specially designed for members of this organization that caters to the needs of seniors.

To learn more about dental insurance plans for seniors, visit

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