Veterans’ health is a hot button topic and something that should not be ignored. Unfortunately, while a lot of attention is given to their overall health, their oral health is often pushed to the wayside. But maintaining oral health is a great way to keep your body healthy, taking away unnecessary risks for heart disease, diabetes, dementia, and many other chronic diseases.
Yet, what dental benefits are out there for veterans to use? We checked with Vancouver dentist Dr. Gustafson to find out.
The best place to start with dental benefits is to check win with the local VA. There are VAs all across North America which are in place specifically to help veterans with any of their needs, including dental. One of the great dental offices to help veterans is Finn Hill Dental in Poulsbo with Dr. Russell who’s enlisted in the United States Air Force as a medical officer in the Dental Corps. The type of care that you receive from the VA depends greatly on what your eligibility is and the treatment can range dramatically from VA to VA.
The amount of care you qualify for depends on your class.
Class I, Class IIA, Class IIC, and Class IV: These veteran classes qualify to receive all of the dental care and treatment that they need.
Class II and Class IIB: These veteran classes are permitted to have one dental visit to alleviate any immediate pain or condition.
Class III, Class V and Class VI: These veteran classes are given dental treatment based on the VA’s review of mental or dental conditions.
It is difficult to know what specific benefits you are entitled to without knowing which class you were given.
If you do qualify for dental treatment through the VA, the services that you can receive include:
- Routine cleanings and x-rays
- Restorations, such as fillings, crowns, and bridges
- Tooth extractions
- Facial surgery due to trauma or illness
What you get depends greatly on the class you have as well as what your current oral and physical health is.
Beyond the VA
The VA is also not your only option. If you are not eligible to receive dental care through the VA, you might be able to obtain dental care through the VA Dental Insurance Program. If you are a Veteran enrolled in VA healthcare, you can also buy insurance through the VA. The advantage to this type of insurance is that it is purchased a discount, making it more affordable than standard dental insurance.
The services that you can get from this coverage include:
- Diagnostic services
- Preventative services
- Endodontic services (root canals)
- Restorative services
- Surgical services
- Emergency services
While this is still a service that you must pay for and you are responsible for any co-pays or bills that you accrue from dental offices, these dental plans are still far more affordable than if you bought a separate dental plan. Keep in mind, however, you will need to make sure that the dentist you go to can accept that dental insurance prior to going into an appointment.
Why Get Coverage?
You might be wondering whether you should worry about having dental insurance at all. The reality is, paying out of pocket for routine dental checks is likely to prevent you from going as often as you should. Dental insurance will also help you out if an emergency happens or if you have a concern with your teeth. It can help lower the cost of your treatment, allowing you to proceed with treatment.
It is also essential that you continue to go to the dentist routinely. You cannot avoid going to the dentist, or you are putting yourself and your health at risk. The longer that you put off getting a routine cleaning, the more likely you are to have developed more serious issues. A hygienist removes the troublesome and bacteria-filled plaque from your teeth, helping keep your health.
All in all, if you can get coverage through the VA or VA insurance, you should. Regardless, keep up with your dental appointments to maintain your health.