Dental Plans In Calfiornia

Today we are going to take a look at the dental insurance plans in California.

California has over a one hundred different dental insurance providers. Every national dental insurance company has a presence in the state. Small regional and statewide carriers also make in impact in the marketplace with specially designed dental insurance plans that are available in California.

Blue Cross, Blue Shield, and Delta Dental are the major dental insurance plans in California. Those three carriers have a major chunk of the states dental insurance business. The reason for that is probably name recognition because those three names are the most trusted in health and dental insurance.

Western Dental is a good example of a smaller ancillary carrier, who is designing and administering dental insurance plans in California. Western Dental is one of California’s oldest DHMO’s. Western Dental has over 200 dental offices in California and Arizona in addition to 1700 DHMO network dentists. As a DHMO Western Dental’s goal is to provide access to quality dental care at affordable rates.

Covered California announced its selection of pediatric Dental insurance plans in California. The new plans ensure that California children up to 19 years old will get expanded opportunities for better dental health.

The six selected companies participating in the programs are, Anthem Dental, Blue Shield of California, Delta Dental of California, Health Net Dental, LIBERTY Dental Plan and Premier Access Dental. The products include stand-alone plans, and all can be bundled with health insurance for a single premium.

Delta Dental Insurance Company

The Delta Dental Insurance Company is actually an association of 39 independent dental insurance companies operating in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

The Delta Dental Insurance Company association covers over 50 million people who are enrolled in over 88,000 groups. Most Delta Dental Insurance Companies are not for profit. Some do have for profit dental insurance entities.

The roots of Delta Dental Insurance Company go back to the early 1950’s when regional plans such as the Washington Dental Service started offering group dental insurance plans to local labor organizations.

With the success of Washington Dental Service sister dental associations were formed in Oregon and California. In 1966 the Delta Dental Association was formed under that is very similar to Blue Cross and Blue Shield. Delta Dental Plan Association manages the Delta Dental brand, helps organize meetings, ties all the member companies together and allows them to price claims in other states.

The actual Delta Dental Insurance Company provides coverage to residents of Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, Texas, and Utah. Delta Dental Insurance Company is also affiliated with Delta Dental of California and the District of Columbia. They have the largest geographic footprint of the Delta Dental Association of companies.

Fun Dental Facts

Read about some fun dental facts:

How much is the Tooth Fairy paying per tooth? About $2.00 according to an insurance provider.

Best set of teeth in America belong to Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts according to a poll.

We spend an average of over 38 total days brushing our teeth over our lifetimes.

Dentists recommend that toothbrushes be kept over six feet away from the toilet to prevent any contamination.

44% of dental care expenditures are paid out-of-pocket.

Benefits of non-fluoride toothpaste

Too much fluoride can be bad for your health.  According to several research fluoride can cause harm to your health and cause teeth discoloration. The toxicity of fluoride, especially sodium fluoride that’s added to water could be incredibly toxic. As a result, many companies have developed non fluoride toothpaste.

You can buy these organic non-fluoride toothpaste at most organic stores and online.  I was able to find mine at Whole Foods.

For many, not using fluoride resulted in making their teeth more healthy.  Here are some of the benefits of switching from fluoride to non fluoride toothpaste.

  1. It is more healthy because it contains organic or herbal ingredients.
  2. It doesn’t contain toxic ingredients that can cause cancer.
  3. It is much cheaper.
  4. And you can have lots of choices when it comes to brand.


The most popular brands are Tom’s of Maine Natural Antiplaque, Nature’s Gate Herbal Creme de Anise Natural and XyliWhite. There are many others as well.

Proper Brushing Technique

Very few people realize it but there are many different kinds of ways to effectively brush your teeth.  I guess we don’t make a habit of talking about how we each individually brush our teeth so there is little discourse about it.

There is the Bass method, Charter’s method, Modified Stillman method, etc. to brushing one’s teeth.  Who knew!! Typically the most popular and recommended of brushing your teeth is the Bass method. Here is a step-by-step guide to how to brush your teeth under the Bass method:


Start with placing your toothbrush bristles in a 45 degree angle around the front top of the back teeth. Move the toothbrush in small circular motions. Ensure that you brush the teeth and particularly the location in which the tooth meets the gums.

With this particular circular motion, slowly move ahead to the front teeth. Don’t rush!! Take your time and effort and clean off all food debris and plaque. If you’re obtaining the difficulties with the comb the mouth area, angle it vertically and then brush in a 45 degree angle the leading surface and gum line.

Next, move about the arch and cover the trunk teeth about the opposite side.

Repeat these steps with all the back from the teeth too (the medial side from the teeth that’s nearest to the tongue)

Next, put the toothbrush bristles about the chewing surfaces from the teeth (known inside the dental world since the occlusal surface).

Move the toothbrush back forth inside a “scrubbing motion”. Make sure you brush the chewing surfaces of most teeth, the front teeth.

Rinse your toothbrush, put on tongue, and gently run the bristles over your tongue. The tongue may also harbor bacteria and cavity causing germs and should be cleaned too.

And there you have it.  There is one method to brush your teeth.

How to Choose Dental Insurance in California.

1. When choosing dental insurance, start with the basics. Basic coverage ranges from a number of services. The most important service your dental insurance should include is preventive care. This includes free teeth cleaning two times a year. Along with cleanings, you should expect a wellness directory to give you information on how to properly care for your teeth.Basic coverage also includes dental care for tooth decay, which leads to cavities. Chances are, sometime in your life, you will get a cavity. Cost for cavity fillings can be upwards of $100. Expect to pay more if the cavity is on multiple surfaces. Find out what your dental insurance is willing to pay. Your out-of-pocket cost can add up without adequate coverage.

2. Next, check your insurance company’s coverage for major dental procedures.This is where you can really expect the cost to add up. Dental procedures can include everything from oral surgery to braces. The major procedures you should ask about are tooth extractions, veneers, root canals and periodontal care. Find out how much coverage your dental insurance is willing to pay in each instance.
3. Are you interested in braces? If so, ask about orthodontic care. Some insurance companies will pay up to 80 percent for the cost of braces. A good dental insurance company will pay at least pay 50 percent for the cost of braces. Also, be sure to find out how the money will be disbursed.

4. What about emergency care? If you lose your tooth in an accident, you should have coverage through your dental insurance to cover you for immediate care. Some dental companies may try to tell you that is a medical case. Do not be fooled. Most medical insurance companies will not pay for emergency dental care unless it involves care done directly to the mouth, not the tooth. Find out what your dental insurance is willing to pay.

5. The cost of dental insurance is going to be something that is on the top of your mind. Obviously, you need to find out what you can afford. What is your monthly premium? Are you paying directly, or is it drafted out of your paycheck?

6. Ask about deductibles and co-payments. Deductibles are once-a-year minimum payments that you must make before your insurance company pays anything. If you do not pay the deductible, your insurance company will not pay anything towards your care.

7. Co-payments, on the other hand, are payments that you make along with the insurance company. Unlike deductibles, co-payments are billed to you for every occurrence. Find out if your dental insurance offers a flat rate co-payment or a percentage of the bill.

8. Another terrific way of finding the right Dental insurance is by word of mouth. Ask family and friends what dental insurance plan they are covered by,
ask how their experience with their current dental insurance is working for them.

Dental Patient’s Bill of Rights

According to the California Dental Associations, we have rights as patients.  They have put together what is called the Dental Patient’s Bill of Rights.  The Bill of Rights states,

You have a right to schedule an appointment with your dentist in a timely manner.

You have a right to see the dentist every time you receive dental treatment.

You have a right to know in advance the type and expected cost of treatment.

You have a right to expect dental team members to use appropriate infection and sterilization controls.

You have a right to ask about treatment alternatives and be told, in language you can understand, the advantages and disadvantages of each.

You have a right to ask your dentist to explain all the treatment options regardless of coverage or cost.

You have a right to know the education and training of your dentist and the dental team.

You have a right to know the professional rules, laws and ethics that apply to your dentist and the dental team.

You have a right to choose your own dentist.

Kindergarten oral health

In 2005, the California legislature passed AB 1433, which is a kindergarten dental check up requirement.  The California Department of Education has allocated funding to support the implementation of this law.  With the assistance of the California Dental Association, free access to kindergarten has been offered to ensure that children with dental needs are provided with the basic care.  Cause studies have established that children with pain are unable to concentrate and learn in school.

The legislation requires that children have a dental check up by May 31 of their first year in public school at kindergarten or first grade.  Those who have had dental exams within 12 months of the school entry date are considered in compliance with the law.  The ultimate goal of the program is to establish regular dental care for every child.  The program will also identify which children need further examination and figure out what obstacles preventing them for further care.

Gum Disease

Gum disease (aka Periodontal or Gingival disease) is what harms the gums and bones that hold our teeth in place.  When plaque stays on your teeth for too long, tartar forms.  Tartar can’t be remove by you and I.  You can remove it with flossing and brushing regularly.  Only a dentist can remove it.  Tartar removal is covered under all California Dental Insurance Plans. If left untreated it can lead to gingivitis, a red swollen gum that bleeds easily which allows the teeth to pulling away from the teeth forming pockets that become infected.  If not treated, the infection can ruin the bones, gums and tissue that support your teeth.  You know what happens next right?  In time the teeth loosen requiring you to visit a dental office to get them removed.  The best way to avoid this is to visit a dentist regularly.  If you belong to a dental insurance plan the cost will be significantly less.