Returning to the dentist’s chair:

What you should know about costs during COVID-19

 

As dental practices reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic, dentists have taken precautions to protect patient health by establishing new guidelines for providing care. Some dentists are even offering alternative services, like teledentistry.

You might wonder if returning to the dentist will be more expensive with these extra precautions now in place. If you choose to get your dental care in the coming months, you should know what your insurance plan covers. Will you be charged extra for a face mask or for using remote services like teledentistry? Find out below!

Personal protective equipment

If you choose to go back to the dentist, you should know what to expect. When you’re in the chair for your procedure, you’ll notice that your dentist and any additional staff will most likely be wearing more personal protective equipment (PPE) than they used to. This means that they could be wearing face shields, N95 masks, hair nets, and medical aprons that they change between each patient.

These additional precautions are to keep you safe. However, PPE can be expensive. In some places, boxes of 50 masks are 10 times more expensive and medical gowns are almost 15 times more expensive. This means that fully outfitting each member of a team is much more costly than it was at the beginning of the year. Some offices are also installing filters and air purifiers as well as sanitation equipment to help lessen the potential for viral spread. Those costs can add up quickly.

You might wonder whether you’ll be paying for these new safety precautions. Your Delta Dental dentist can’t charge you for personal protective equipment (PPE) or general infection control. Delta Dental reimburses in-network dentists to help cover these PPE costs and ensure that they don’t get passed on to you. If you visit an out-of-network dentist, he or she might charge you for PPE and infection control costs. Those fees aren’t covered by Delta Dental.

Teledentistry

If you can’t make an office visit or your dentist has limited office visits to emergency care, you may have access to services through teledentistry. This new approach allows your dentist to speak with you and provide personalized care through videoconferencing or apps on your phone.

Your dentist can determine through consultation whether you have an emergency dental problem and can explain how to treat conditions. If you have a cracked or chipped tooth, soft tissue lesion (bump), small cavity, jaw pain or similar non-emergency condition, a phone or video consultation may work. If you need urgent treatment, you should go into the office for an appointment.

Delta Dental covers teledentistry services. There is no additional charge for teledentistry. Your standard coverage for diagnostic services will apply.

 

Reach out to your dentist and educate yourself on COVID-related changes, so you can make the right choice for you. Check out our COVID-19 resources page for the latest updates.

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