According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of all adults 30 and older show signs of gum disease, also known as periodontal disease.1 Gum disease often starts in a mild form and can be controlled and fixed with proper oral health habits like brushing, flossing, rinsing, and professional cleanings. However, it can progress to more advanced forms that require complex and costly procedures.
Fortunately, dental insurance helps cover an array of treatments, including various procedures that can prevent and fix periodontal disease. In this article, we’ll discuss several types of periodontal diseases and explain how dental insurance can help you reduce the cost of treatment for this condition.
Dental insurance is a form of supplemental insurance designed to pay for dental care and treatment costs. With this type of plan, you’ll pay monthly or yearly premiums to maintain coverage.
When the policyholder visits the dentist, they generally pay a deductible that varies by their plan and premiums. They may also pay copayments or coinsurance, which are fixed amounts or percentages (respectively) of care the policyholder is responsible for paying. Dental insurance also has annual maximums, or maximum amounts the insurer will pay for care yearly. The policyholder must visit providers in the insurer’s network to get favorable rates on care.
Dental insurance policies tend to be quite affordable. The average dental policy with comprehensive coverage costs about $47 per month, or $564 per year.2 These policies tend to help cover most of the costs of preventive care and a large amount of more expensive treatments.
The average cost for two routine exams, two routine cleanings, and one yearly X-ray is around $461, which is less than the comprehensive plan.3 However, the costs of many dental treatments beyond preventive care can cost hundreds of dollars, so comprehensive coverage can be worth it. And a preventive care plan costs an average of $26 per month,2 which comes out to less per year than paying for annual routine exams, cleanings, and X-rays out of pocket.3
You can also get a supplemental dental insurance policy if gaps exist in your existing dental policy’s coverage. Aflac offers dental insurance that help cover a range of services with a deductible that decreases over time and an annual maximum that increases over time, rewarding you for caring for your teeth.
You have options.
Many dental insurance plans offer coverage for costs related to periodontal disease.4 For example, Aflac dental insurance helps cover periodontal maintenance and other non-surgical periodontal services. It also covers surgical periodontal services.
There are several types of periodontal disease. Let’s explore how each works in more detail:
Gingivitis is the inflammation of gum tissue caused by the buildup of plaque.5 It’s the earliest and mildest stage of periodontal disease and may be reversible with proper oral hygiene and regular professional cleaning. Gingivitis signs and symptoms include:
Chronic periodontal disease is a progressive and long-lasting inflammation of the gum tissue.6 It is also characterized by plaque buildup that causes gum recession, pockets in the gums, potential tooth loss, and even potential bone loss. Good oral hygiene is crucial in slowing or preventing chronic periodontal disease. However, more advanced treatments may be needed to control or stop it.
Aggressive periodontal disease is a more severe form of periodontal disease characterized by early age onset, a pattern of periodontal tissue loss across several teeth, and a lack of systemic diseases that could contribute to periodontitis.7 Improving oral hygiene can help slow aggressive periodontitis. However, treatments such as scaling and root planning as well as antibiotic treatments may be necessary.
Periodontitis from systemic disease occurs when certain non-dental medical conditions contribute to periodontitis. Some diseases that may be linked to periodontitis include:8
These conditions weaken the immune system, making someone more susceptible to bacterial plaque buildup and therefore, periodontitis. Special dental care is required to treat periodontitis from systemic diseases. The disease itself may also have to be treated if possible.
Necrotizing periodontal disease is a rare, severe form of gum disease that can lead to bleeding, pain, bad breath, and tissue death.9 Both soft and hard tissues, such as surrounding bones, can be impacted. These can make oral hygiene difficult since brushing, flossing, and rinsing can cause pain and damage.
Periodontal disease is one of the major conditions that dental insurance helps cover. Here are some other issues that you could pay for with a dental insurance policy:10
Some dental policies may also help cover orthodontics (such as braces and retainers) and prosthodontics (such as dentures and bridges).
Periodontal disease can start as minor gingivitis, but if not treated, can devastate your oral health. Fortunately, dental insurance can help reduce the costs of surgical and non-surgical treatments so you can stop periodontal disease and maintain a healthy smile.
Even if you believe you have excellent teeth, some dental diseases may not show themselves until it’s too late, so it's vital to have coverage and get regular cleanings. Speak with an Aflac agent about your options for covering routine appointments and periodontal treatments with dental insurance.
Explore your dental insurance options.
1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Gum Disease. https://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/fast-facts/gum-disease/. Accessed May 30, 2023.
2 Forbes – How Much is Dental Insurance? (Coverage and Cost). Updated April 26, 2023. https://www.forbes.com/advisor/health-insurance/dental-insurance-coverage-and-cost/. Accessed May 30, 2023.
3 Forbes – How Much Does Dental Work Cost? Updated January 12, 2023. https://www.forbes.com/advisor/health-insurance/dental-work-cost/. Accessed May 30, 2023.
4 Forbes – How Does Dental Insurance Work? Updated September 16, 2022. https://www.forbes.com/advisor/health-insurance/how-does-dental-insurance-work/. Accessed May 30, 2023.
5 Mayo Clinic – Gingivitis. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gingivitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20354453. Accessed May 30, 2023.
6 National Library of Medicine - Chronic Periodontitis Case Definitions and Confounders in Periodontal Research: A Systematic Assessment. Updated November 18, 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6304204/. Accessed May 30, 2023.
7 National Library of Medicine - Aggressive periodontitis: case definition and diagnostic criteria. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24738584/. Accessed May 30, 2023.
8 American Academy of Periodontology - Gum Disease and Other Diseases. https://www.perio.org/for-patients/gum-disease-information/gum-disease-and-other-diseases/. Accessed May 30, 2023.
9 National Library of Medicine – Necrotizing Periodontal Diseases. Updated August 16, 2022. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557417/. Accessed May 30, 2023.
10 WebMD – Dental Insurance: What’s Covered, What’s Not. Updated March 20, 2023. https://www.webmd.com/health-insurance/dental-insurance-overview. Accessed May 30, 2023.
Content within this article is provided for general informational purposes and is not provided as tax, legal, health, or financial advice for any person or for any specific situation. Employers, employees, and other individuals should contact their own advisers about their situations. For complete details, including availability and costs of Aflac insurance, please contact your local Aflac agent.
Aflac Insurance Policies
In Arkansas, Policies A82100RAR–A82400RAR. In Delaware, Policies A82100R–A82400R. In Idaho, Policies A82100RID–A82400RID. In New York, Policies NY82100–NY82400. In Oklahoma, Policies A82100ROK–A82400ROK. In Oregon, Policies A82100ROR–A82400ROR. In Pennsylvania, Policies A82100RPA–A82400RPAR. In Texas, Policies A82100RTX–A82400RTX. In Virginia, Policies A82100RVA–A82400RVA.
Tier One Insurance Policies
In Arkansas, Policy T80000AR. In Delaware, Policy T80000. In Idaho, Policy T80000ID. In Oklahoma, Policy T80000OK. In Oregon, Policy T80000OR. In Pennsylvania, Policy T80000PA. In Texas, Policy T80000TX.
Coverage may not be available in all states, including but not limited to DE, ID, NJ, NM, NY or VA. Benefits/premium rates may vary based on state and plan levels. Optional riders may be available at an additional cost. Policies and riders may also contain a waiting period. Refer to the exact policy and rider forms for benefit details, definitions, limitations and exclusions.
Dental claims are administered by Aflac Benefits Solutions, Inc. Vision claims are administered by EyeMed Vision Care, LLC. Hearing claims are administered by Nations Hearing.
NOTICE: The coverage offered is not a qualified health plan (QHP) under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and is not required to satisfy essential health benefits mandates of the ACA. The coverage provides limited benefits. Tier One Insurance Company is part of the Aflac family of insurers.
Aflac’s family of insurers include Aflac, Aflac New York, Continental American Insurance Company, and Tier One Insurance Company.
Aflac coverage is underwritten by American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus. In New York, coverage is underwritten by American Family Life Assurance Company of New York.
Tier One Coverage is underwritten by Tier One Insurance Company.
Aflac WWHQ | Tier One Insurance Company | 1932 Wynnton Road | Columbus, GA 31999