Word of Mouth

Benefits administrator blog from Delta Dental

Dental implants are an important benefit employees will love

Because implants are such a popular option nowadays, coverage can help your organization attract and retain top-tier talent. Here’s a deep dive into dental implants and the value that coverage can bring to you and your employees.

What are implants?

Implants are artificial tooth roots inserted into the bone of the jaw or skull to provide a permanent base for fixed, replacement teeth. Archeologists have found rudimentary implants — tooth-like pieces of bamboo, shells and metal lodged into human jawbones — some dating as far back as 4,000 years ago. Modern dental implants have come a long way since then, particularly since the 1957 discovery that incorporating titanium allows an implant to fuse with bone.

An illustration shows dental implants being placed in a jaw.

Why are implants such a popular choice?

Missing teeth are a common problem. The majority of adults ages 35 to 44 have lost at least one permanent tooth, and by age 74 more than a quarter of adults have lost all their permanent teeth.

About 3 million people in the U.S. have dental implants, and another 500,000 implants are placed each year, according to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry.

Implants are an appealing option because they closely resemble real teeth. They’re also permanent and comfortable, and they slow down the bone loss caused by losing a tooth. Unlike traditional dentures, implants aren’t removed for overnight soaking or cleaning, and they don’t require adhesives or anchoring to healthy teeth. Dental implant placement has a 95% success rate with minimal risks or associated complications.

Implant trends

One of the strongest factors affecting growth in the implant industry is the aging demographic in the United States. The Census Bureau estimates that by 2030, people aged 65 and older will outnumber those aged 18 and under. Since tooth loss is more prevalent in older populations, demand for implants is increasing. Any treated tooth may eventually need to be replaced with an implant, as it loses tooth structure through maintenance over the years.

Due to the growing demand, an increasing number of dentists have begun integrating dental implant procedures into their practices. A recent market study showed that around 31% of all dental implants placed in 2020 were done by general practitioners rather than specialists, a significant increase from the days when primarily specialists performed such procedures and a rate which is expected to grow steadily over the coming years.

The growth of group practices and dental service organizations is also expected to drive the cost of implants down and the popularity up, since group practices can negotiate better bulk-order prices from manufacturers and make the procedures more accessible. Overall, despite the recent slowdown caused by COVID-19, the US market for implants is expected to continue to grow to exceed $1.5 billion in 2027.

What kind of implant coverage does Delta Dental offer?

Implants are an attractive option, but they can be an expensive one for patients. Costs vary, but implants can cost up to $3,000 to $5,000 per implant. It’s one of the reasons employees value implant coverage so highly.

Delta Dental offers several different options for implant coverage for groups. Your employees will feel confident knowing that Delta Dental implant coverage was named Best Overall Dental Insurance for Implants for 2022 by Investopedia.

Implant coverage is available under both Delta Dental PPO™ and DeltaCare® USA group plans:

  • Delta Dental PPO plans can be customized by group and may include implant coverage.
  • DeltaCare USA i‑series plans include comprehensive coverage for dental implants.

Covered benefits typically include implants, abutments, implant crowns, retainers (either abutment-supported or implant-supported), removal of implant, maintenance procedures, recement and repairs. Some plans may include waiting periods, maximums or deductibles that apply for implants. Not all plans cover pre-existing conditions such as missing teeth.

The many cost factors (consultations, x‑rays, anesthesia, etc.) involved with implants have the potential to be confusing for employees, but Delta Dental provides a pre-treatment estimate that details what’s covered. Encourage your employees to ask their dentist to request a pre-treatment estimate from Delta Dental.

Implant coverage for your employees

The demand for implants continues to grow every day. Don’t miss out on delivering the type of coverage that your employees will truly be grateful for. If you haven’t already, consider adding implant coverage to your plan. 

Plan your wellness calendar for 2022

As your employees prepare for a productive 2022, you may ask yourself what you can do to help them stay informed and healthy this year. Well, you’re in luck! Delta Dental offers an assortment of themed wellness materials that enables you to offer employees relevant wellness content all year.

For a quick look at the topics covered in 2022, download the PDF.

Wellness is health approached from a holistic perspective. From holidays to awareness months, we offer plenty of opportunities to remind employees to take care of both their oral health and their total well-being. You can choose campaigns from Glaucoma Awareness Month in January to holiday health in December, and each campaign is supported by a variety of multimedia assets.

This year’s calendar includes the following new campaigns:

  • Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month (March)
  • World Oral Health Day (March 20)
  • Mental Health Awareness Month (May)
  • Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October)
  • National Brush Day (Nov. 1)

Whether you want to communicate with employees who are in the office or are working from home, whether your employees want to watch a wellness video or read a flyer, we offer materials to suit your needs. Visit the wellness calendar and you’ll find:

  • Emails
  • Flyers
  • Posters
  • Booklets
  • Infographics
  • Videos

Our new 2022 calendar is available now, and full of great resources and materials to share with employees. From January through December, let’s make 2022 a great year for oral health and total body wellness!

Are foster children at higher risk of oral disease?

More than 400,000 children in the United States are in foster care. While almost all of them get state-mandated dental insurance through Medicaid, children in foster care reported more oral health problems than children who aren’t in foster care, according to a recent study.

And it’s not just dental care. Foster children’s overall health outcomes are worse than the outcomes of children from more economically secure backgrounds. What’s causing this rift?

Oral health problems may begin before foster care placement

Children who enter the foster care system are there for a variety of reasons, but a leading cause is neglect. In 2019, about 656,000 American children were the victims of reported neglect or abuse.

When children are neglected, they may not be taught about the importance oral hygiene or given the tools they need to maintain their oral health, like toothbrushes and floss. Instead, these children often develop chronic conditions, such as gum disease, and rarely see a dentist. If those children are taken in to foster care, their history of chronic oral health problems may contribute to more frequent dental issues.

Even worse, children in the foster system suffer from high rates of emotional abuse, with children of Native American, Black and Hispanic descent particularly vulnerable to reoccurring maltreatment. That means that foster children may not receive care for chronic oral health problems that can lead to more severe oral care outcomes.

Struggles in getting access to care

The current nature of the foster care system means that the average foster kid moves home three times during their time in care, with some children moving more than 15 times a year.

The instability of life in the system makes it difficult for healthcare professionals to care for these kids, since they could move suddenly. Coordinating care can contribute to delays, since state agencies, birth parents and foster parents all have different responsibilities and levels of control.

Finding a dentist who accepts Medicaid can be difficult and can lead to delays in care that could result in worse diagnoses. Options like teledentistry may help for families with consistent access to the internet, but not all dentists provide telemedicine services.

How you can help

While kids fostered by your employees are covered by Medicaid, there are still ways you can help. You can regularly remind your employees of the importance of oral health care for all children. Consider putting together a small package of helpful materials for any employee who decides to foster. Delta Dental has a variety of wellness materials that may help:

You can also modify your current benefits packages to support children’s health with effective preventive tools like sealants or important orthodontic devices like braces.


Glaucoma and the oral health connection

January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month. While you might be aware that the disease is a leading cause of permanent blindness, it might surprise you to know that it may also be linked to oral health.

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma occurs when a buildup of fluid causes pressure in the eyes to increase to abnormal levels, damaging the optic nerve. The resulting nerve damage causes partial or total blindness in the affected eye. After it occurs, this vision loss can’t be reversed, but early treatment to reduce eye pressure may reduce or halt the damage.

More than 3 million people in the United States have glaucoma, and the number of people who have the disease is expected to more than double by 2050, according to the National Eye Institute. While anyone, including children, can develop glaucoma, the condition is most common in:

  • People over age 60
  • African Americans over age 40
  • People who have a family history of the disease

OK, but how is glaucoma connected to oral health?

Various studies suggest a connection between poor oral health and glaucoma. A 26-year study of more than 40,000 men over the age of 40 found a correlation between tooth loss and primary open-angle glaucoma.

The study found that the risk for glaucoma was 43% greater in men who had lost at least one tooth than those who didn’t lose any teeth. When periodontal disease was also factored in, the glaucoma risk for men with tooth loss increased to 86% higher than men with no tooth loss.

While the specific cause isn’t certain, researchers speculate that bacteria at the site of the tooth loss can cause inflammation, which triggers reactions in the body that can affect the eyes.

What can I do for my employees with glaucoma?

If you have employees with glaucoma, here are few steps you can take to help them:

  • Encourage your employees to schedule dental cleanings. Preventive care not only helps improve the health of teeth and gums, it can also help improve employees’ overall health and help prevent conditions that lead to inflammation, a condition that can contribute to glaucoma.
  • Urge employees with gum disease to follow their dentist’s recommended periodontal treatment. Along with tooth loss, periodontitis has been linked to other health problems, including inflammation. If you don’t already, consider offering periodontal benefits, including our SmileWay® Wellness Benefits.
  • Take advantage of Delta Dental’s materials. You can take advantage of a variety of materials to support your employees during Glaucoma Awareness Month, including emails, posters, articles and videos.
  • Make our materials accessible for your employees. Delta Dental can also translate written materials, such as plan information, to Braille or audio for blind and low-vision employees. Contact Customer Service to make a request.

8 ways Delta Dental plans got better for your employees this past year

In a year like 2021, it’s easy to lose track of the updates that help your employees make the most of their Delta Dental plans. From telehealth to online resources, here are eight ways Delta Dental made it easier than ever for your employees to maintain a healthy smile.

1. Teledentistry lets employees use their benefits outside of the dentist office

In 2021, Delta Dental launched not just one but two teledentistry initiatives. Available under Delta Dental PPO™ and Delta Dental Premier® plans, Toothpic and Delta Dental – Virtual Consult let members use their existing diagnostic and preventive benefits to see Delta Dental dentists remotely at no cost.

Toothpic is perfect for members who just need a quick check-in, and Virtual Consult is great for members with more serious concerns that may require a prescription for treatment.

2. New videos make understanding networks and plans easier

The world of insurance can be difficult for people to navigate. As a benefits administrator, you know the value of clear and easy-to-understand communication. That’s why we’ve put together videos that you can share with employees to help them understand the online tools and resources available to them and the differences between the plans we offer.

3. The Delta Dental Mobile App is getting more features and more user friendly

Delta Dental is relaunching the Delta Dental Mobile App for 2022. The new app is faster and more stable and offers useful features such as member ID cards, dentist directory and a cost estimator. It will also be available on both Android and iOS. The old version of the app will be unavailable starting December 20.

4. Delta Dental and VSP are partnering up for paired vision and dental

This year, Delta Dental partnered with VSP to offer vision coverage to Small Business Program (SBP) groups. This coverage is structured in the same tiers as regular SBP coverage, so it’s easy to understand what kind of options are available. If you’re an SBP group and you want vision coverage, you can now get it in one convenient invoice paired with your dental coverage.

5. New open enrollment resources are available

This past open enrollment season brought multiple new features to help employees understand and make the most of their coverage options. In addition to the videos and teledentistry tools already covered, these resources include a new focus on “virtual” booths for open enrollment periods conducted remotely, quality ratings for dentists and refreshed website and customer service experiences. Speaking of quality ratings…

6. DentaQual ratings help employees find dentists they’ll love

This year, Delta Dental added DentaQual ratings to our dentist directory. Your employees can use DentaQual ratings to compare dentists based on objective measurements such as procedures success rate, value and patient retention. These ratings offer a simple and transparent solution to the problem of finding a great dentist.

7. Customer service gets reimagined

After two years of development, design and implementation, we rolled out our new customer service initiative, CX Reimagined. CX Reimagined brought an emphasis on soft skills, like empathy, active listening and de-escalation. Since we rolled out the CX Reimagined initiative, more members than ever before have told us that they’re satisfied with their service and that they’d recommend Delta Dental’s customer service to others. That means that you can feel confident in the quality of customer service Delta Dental provides your employees.

8. Delta Dental’s NCQA Credentialing Accreditation was renewed

Delta Dental Insurance Company’s NCQA Credentialing Accreditation was renewed through March 2024.

“Achieving NCQA Credentialing Accreditation demonstrates that Delta Dental Insurance Company has the systems, process and personnel in place to conduct credentialing in accordance with the strictest quality standards,” said Margaret E. O’Kane, president of the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).

NCQA is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving health care quality. NCQA’s Credentialing Accreditation is a quality assessment program that focuses on consumer protection and customer service improvement.


These major updates from 2021 help make Delta Dental plans a choice that will help your employees maintain their oral health and lead to better attendance for your business. We’re proud to be your partners in keeping your employees happy and healthy. Together we shine, and we’ll see you in 2022!

What to expect in 2022 benefits trends

In the midst of the Great Resignation, benefits are more important than ever for groups and individuals alike. About 37% of employees would rather receive more substantial benefits than additional salaries or bonuses.

That means that in-office perks like free snacks or casual dress won’t necessarily cut it on their own. Instead, job seekers are looking for more specific, long-term investments into their financial and physical well-being.

Paid family leave and child care assistance

The lines that separate work time and home life blurred significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic and employees are looking for benefits that acknowledge the realities of life. Only 40% of employers offer paid family leave for both mothers and fathers and only 6% offer child care benefits, despite both parents working full-time.

The lack of reliably safe child care during the pandemic has employees looking for financial support when it comes to child care and paid time off to take care of their kids. To build a benefits package that supports your employees and their kids, consider rebates or financial help with the costs of daycare, or even adding more paid time off to care for young children.

Voluntary benefits

Historically, companies have offered blanket benefits and resources that give the same support to all their employees. Often, benefits packages are designed to satisfy employees in key groups, like emerging talent and leadership, while other employees’ needs are prioritized much lower.

Employees with mature careers and families to care for have different priorities in mind than those who are just starting out. In 2022, many employers are looking to design more flexible benefits packages so that all employees get more of the coverage they want, with less fluff. That means adding opt-in benefits like pet insurance, critical illness plans and increased mental health support.

Flexible work arrangements

Employees want to be able to design the work-life balance they need, rather than trying to fit in to what their company has previously set. The good news is that if you’re looking to hire in 2022, flexible work will be an easy way to drive applications and retain employees.

Flexibility is the fastest growing priority for job seekers. Jobs that offer remote work receive four times the applications than onsite jobs do, LinkedIn found. But flexibility and remote work aren’t just good for getting new applications — employees who are satisfied with their work schedules and locations are more likely to enjoy working for you and recommend your workplace, according to the same study.

Expanded health services

The pandemic solidly established the connection between employee well-being and productivity ― and employers took note. About 32% of employers indicated they were working on expanding and strengthening their virtual care or telehealth programs. Another 25% said that they would increase the mental health support services offered to employees. With these kinds of benefits becoming valuable, expect to see Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) increase in 2022 as well.

Investments for financial security

Did you know many people in America are living paycheck to paycheck? After roughly 9.6 million U.S. workers lost their jobs due to COVID-19, the stress of living without a solid financial backup has many people looking to boost their savings. Employees are looking to their employers for support when it comes to money, and they’re open to more than just a higher salary.

Employees indicate that financial benefits — like tools that automatically put part of their paycheck towards debt — would lead to less financial stress in their lives. Programs like emergency cash grants or loan programs have shown great results as well. In one study, 72% of employees who benefited from a hardship fund expressed they were more likely to stay with their employer and about 65% indicated that the fund greatly lessened their financial stress.

As you build your benefits package keep in mind that employees are looking for support from their employers. By providing flexible, specific benefits that keep your employees mentally, physically and financially strong, you’re investing in a happier and more productive work force.

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