These days, it can be easy to forget to make an appointment with the dentist for a routine checkup. Maybe you brush your teeth twice and floss daily. Maybe your teeth look and feel healthy. Isn’t that enough? But forgetting to go to the dentist can have a very negative impact on your overall oral health.
“Regular visits to the dentist are very important for your oral health,” said Doug Elsesser, program analyst for the Defense Health Agency’s TRICARE Dental Program. “Routine cleanings can remove what even thorough brushing can’t, and it can help prevent cavities and gum disease.”
The TRICARE Dental Program (TDP) covers a wide range of dental services, including preventive care.
What is preventive dental care?
Preventive dental care is the care that helps you maintain good oral health. It is a proactive approach to dental care. Through regular cleanings and other treatments, your dentist works to stop tooth and gum problems before they happen.
What preventative care options does TDP cover?
As indicated in the TRICARE Dental Program ManualCovered services for TDP enrollees include:
- Teeth cleaning: TDP covers two dental cleanings over a period of 12 consecutive months. However, a third routine cleaning may be covered if you are pregnant or have a chronic medical condition. According to the American Dental Association, preventing cavities is especially crucial for new moms. Even the simple act of sharing a spoon could transfer bacteria to your baby’s mouth.
- Fluoride treatment: TDP covers two topical fluoride treatments over a consecutive period of 12 months for children 1 year and older.
- Space maintainers: TDP covers space maintainers for children under 19 years of age. Space maintainers are designed to manage the premature loss of baby teeth. Maintainers also help prevent tooth misalignment, crowding and other orthodontic conditions.
- Space maintenance: TDP also covers support for space maintainers for children.
- Sealants: A sealant is a protective material that your dentist can put on top of the teeth in the back of your mouth (usually the molars) to prevent cavities. TDP covers sealants on permanent molars for children up to 18 years old.
What are my fees?
With TDP, your cost share depends on the type of dental service you get and your sponsor’s compensation level. For covered preventive dental services performed by a network dentist, there are no reimbursable expenses. However, you may have to pay other fees if you visit an out-of-network dentist. Keep in mind that the TDP covers two routine dental cleanings and one topical fluoride treatment over a period of 12 consecutive months.
Brushing and flossing alone are not enough to protect your teeth. Learn more about preventive dental services and other covered services on the TDP website. You can also refer to the TRICARE Dental Program Manual for more details on your TDP benefits.