Published On: Wed, Nov 23rd, 2016

More than a Third of Seniors Suffering from Tooth Decay

Even with the positive changes that Obamacare has brought to US citizens seeking universal healthcare, seniors are among those most at risk of having inadequate dental care. According to NPR, approximately a third of senior citizens in the US experience tooth decay, mainly because they do not have insurance coverage for dental care. Many of them cannot afford treatment, and thus, this highly treatable dental continuously leads to tooth loss and infection. Your local dentist may be able to work out a payment arrangement that will help you to afford treatment for tooth decay so that you are able to preserve your teeth. One major obstacle for seniors seeking dental care is the fact that Medicare does not include dental care coverage.

Why Tooth Decay is so Prevalent Among Senior Citizens

Medicare coverage is available at no cost to all people aged 65 and over, but dental insurance is not included. This means that senior citizens needing routine dental care appointments or treatment for tooth decay need to purchase their own dental insurance or pay for dental treatments out of pocket. Only emergency dental procedures performed in a hospital setting are covered by Medicare. Both improper and inadequate brushing and flossing techniques have been cited by dentists as one of the main reason for an increase in cases of tooth decay, but regular dental cleanings are an integral part of prevention as well. For a good number of seniors, dental care is a luxury rather than a necessity because they can physically function despite experiencing severe tooth decay and tooth loss.

Seniors Now Experience Higher Rates of Tooth Decay Than Adolescents

Recent reports have shown that children are now experiencing tooth decay at an alarming rate. While adolescents are experiencing more diagnoses of childhood tooth decay, seniors are still suffering at a growing level. Unlike seniors, children are able to quality for no cost dental coverage under Medicaid, which includes regular tooth cleanings and tooth decay prevention. Although parents or caretakers must apply and qualify for government sponsored health and medical insurance, a high standard of dental care can be established and maintained throughout their childhoods. Unfortunately, senior citizens do not have this privilege.

Dental Insurance Options for Seniors

The only options for senior citizens wanting any type of standard dental care is to come up with ways to pay for it themselves. Some supplementary dental care options are offered to recipients of Medicare, but many of these options consist of dental care discount plans rather than comprehensive dental insurance benefits. This means that seniors needing tooth decay treatment usually end up paying a hefty portion of the total dental charges. The number of treatments needed to successfully treat advanced cases of tooth decay can be substantial, causing many seniors to go forgo care while they contemplate their options.

Tooth decay among senior citizens is a serious concern for the dental community, which is why many dentists work with patients to create affordable solutions. The main problem is that dental experts cannot help those in need unless they come in and ask for personalized help. Seniors are urged to take dental health seriously and use the resources available to them to seek financial assistance if they are not able to afford services on their own.

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