Benefits administrator blog from Delta Dental

Category: Employee support (Page 1 of 3)

Get tips and news to support your employees.

Teledentistry 101: the virtual office visit

As businesses, schools and organizations continue to adapt to COVID-19, dental offices are embracing new conferencing tools to deliver care safely.

As part of the reopening efforts, more dentists and their patients have turned to teledentistry, an emerging trend that has the power to reshape the industry as we know it. Approximately 25% of dentists reported using some form of virtual, limited evaluation of patients, according to an April COVID-19 economic tracking poll from the American Dental Association’s Health Policy Institute. In July, the HPI poll showed usage slipping to 12%, noting that larger group practices are more likely to use teledentistry than solo practices.

Dr. Nathan Suter, owner of a House, Missouri, dental practice and a consulting firm, Access Teledentistry, predicts teledentistry will become more mainstream. This is due to its multiple uses, such as when a dentist is traveling or if there is a schedule conflict.

For your employees, this is a valuable option in maintaining their oral health. As a primer on teledentistry, here are insights on its use and impact and how Delta Dental is supporting this advance in care.

What is teledentistry?

Teledentistry is when a dentist conducts a virtual consultation via phone, text or video to diagnose issues, offer care advice and determine if an in-person visit is necessary.

Teledentistry appointments can be synchronous, such as a video call where the dentist and patient are interacting with each other, or asynchronous, such as when the patient sends a description of his or her situation and a photo and waits for a reply.

What kind of equipment is needed for teledentistry appointments?

The equipment and software needed may vary based on dentists’ preferences and capabilities. Teledentistry may require nothing more than a phone or may require a smart device, computer or specialized app. Businesses now incorporate videoconferencing software for team meetings, and this can be used in dental consultations.

If dental offices have reopened, why is teledentistry relevant?

Dentist offices may be open, but that doesn’t mean that your employees won’t benefit from teledentistry solutions. Just as working from home has shown the value of video meetings and connecting with co-workers without being in person, employees may find teledentistry a useful option when seeking dental care.

In a public opinion survey, 70% of respondents indicated they would take a COVID-19 vaccine once it is available, and 12% are waiting for a vaccine to go back to the dentist, according to Sports and Leisure Research Group’s “Back to Normal Barometer” in July.

Whether your employees are eager or hesitant to return the dentist, teledentistry is the perfect tool for staying in touch, getting care and getting advice without going into the dentist’s office. The ADA has issued guidelines for teledentistry, specifying patient rights regarding this delivery of care.

What is Delta Dental doing with regards to teledentistry?

Delta Dental covers teledentistry appointments at the same benefit levels as diagnostic services to ensure that employees have coverage for their dental needs while staying safe from COVID-19. We’re encouraging dentists to use teledentistry for emergency diagnoses and non-emergency consultations.

What’s more, Delta Dental is looking into partnerships with teledentistry companies to improve the experience for both dentists and their patients.

How will teledentistry change the benefits industry?

Even as vaccines are distributed and control of the COVID-19 virus can be managed, your employees may expect teledentistry to be included as a standard part of any insurance plan (for example, Kaiser Permanente is launching plans with a heavy focus on telehealth). Employees may shy away from plans and dentists that can’t accommodate teledentistry. Those who live in remote areas may gain better access to professional care through teledentistry.

Dentists may incorporate teledentistry as a viable option in their scheduling so your employees can receive care when and how they need it.

Is teledentistry covered by Delta Dental plans?

Delta Dental covers teledentistry services as problem-focused exams. That means they fall into the category of diagnostic care, and are subject to the same rules and limitations (for example, diagnostic and preventive services are usually covered at no cost to the patient, but only a certain number of such appointments are covered each year).

With dental offices adapting to safety needs, you can encourage your employees to maintain their oral health. Teledentistry provides a vital option for them to manage their care through regular checkups and access to expert consultation.

Planning a wellness calendar for 2021

As employees finalize their open enrollment choices and begin looking towards 2021, you may be asking yourself what you can do to help them stay informed and healthy in the year to come. Fortunately, Delta Dental offers an assortment of themed wellness materials to help you offer employees relevant wellness content all year round.

For a quick look at the topics covered in 2021, check out this PDF.

Promoting wellness means approaching health from a holistic perspective. From holidays to awareness months, there are plenty of opportunities to remind employees to take care of both their oral health and their total well-being. Campaigns include everything from Glaucoma Awareness Month in January to holiday health in December, and each campaign is supported by a wealth of multimedia assets.

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

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

Our new 2021 calendar is available now, and full of great resources and materials to share with employees. From January through December, let’s make 2021 a great year for oral health and total body wellness!

Teeth filing a dangerous trend for teens

A troubling trend has emerged on social media during the coronavirus outbreak: DIY teeth filing with household items such as nail files.

In June 2020, a 19-year-old TikTok user named Mia Dio posted a video of herself filing her teeth with a nail file. The video went viral. After being watched nearly a half million times, numerous TikTok videos have been posted showing young people filing their teeth.

Wait, what? Why would anyone do this?

In the video, Dio explains that she wants to remove imperfections in her teeth, but doesn’t want to spend the money for a professional procedure, such as an enameloplasty.

“We’re ballin’ on a budget!” she said.

Later in a Washington Post interview, Dio also said that she was reluctant to visit a dental during the current coronavirus pandemic. The TikTok videos also imply some confusion about the nature of tooth enamel which, unlike nails and hair, doesn’t regenerate.

Filing teeth can destroy tooth enamel, cause temperature sensitivity or injure teeth, which can result in costly dental procedures or even extraction.

Yikes! So what can I do about this?

Many dental professionals have taken proactive steps to ensure their patients and their families don’t try this. Some have decided to fight fire with fire by posting their own TikTok videos warning people about the danger of the practice.

To spread the word to your employees, steps you might consider include the following:

  • Send an email to your employees that explains this trend and warns them about the dangers. This may be especially effective for the parents of teens, who may not be aware of what their children watch on social media.
  • Post information on your company’s website, Facebook page or social media feed about the danger of this fad and safe alternatives.
  • Suggest safe alternatives for imperfect smiles that may be available through your company’s dental policy, such as cleanings, orthodontics, cosmetic procedures and professional teeth whitening.
  • Remind your employees that they can safely visit the dentist during the pandemic for any procedure they might need

However you choose to discuss it, ensure that your employees and their children understand that filing their own teeth is a terrible idea. And that the resulting damage can take a real bite out of their wallet.

As Dio said later in the Post interview, after she was explained what the risks were, “I probably would have thought twice about it.”

Why dental insurance matters for employees

Open enrollment season is here, and that means it’s time for employees to review their benefits and choose their insurance plans for next year. Most people probably think of medical insurance first, but your employees shouldn’t forget about dental insurance, either.

The value of dental insurance may not be immediately obvious to your employees, but dental insurance is always an important part of any benefits package. Any dental plan that emphasizes diagnostic and preventive care can go a long way towards keeping employees happy and healthy, and additional coverage can make a big difference when major services are required.

Here are three ways you can show them how having dental insurance helps protect employees’ health, happiness and pocketbooks.

1. It keeps employees healthy, and that matters during a pandemic.

People who have dental insurance are more likely to go to the dentist than those without coverage. One of the most valuable benefits of dental insurance is having access to regular diagnostic and preventive care in the form of x‑rays and examinations. In addition to keeping employees’ smiles bright and healthy, these services can also help identify major diseases that have oral symptoms, such as diabetes and kidney disease.

Additionally, poor oral health can have negative effects on overall health. Poor oral health is linked to conditions like heart disease and pneumonia. It’s worth considering that many pre-existing conditions can be risk factors for COVID-19, so staying on top of oral health is especially important for preventing new issues and managing existing ones.

2. It helps keep employees’ morale up, and that means a lot when people are worried about the future.

Americans are feeling pessimistic about the future, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. It makes sense that more people would feel anxious and concerned when COVID-19 is still making news and the economy remain unsteady: People are worried about their personal and financial well-being.

The sense of safety and security that comes from having insurance can help alleviate some of these fears. Over 90% of employees rate health care benefits as important. According to Milbank Quarterly, employees want insurance “in order to protect against the catastrophic costs of serious illness and to ensure access to medical care” for themselves and their families. The coverage that comes from an employer, especially if it comes at a discounted group rate, can help employees to feel at easy during the fear and uncertainty of our present time.

3. It saves your employees money, and that’s always important.

One of the biggest financial advantages of having dental coverage is that it helps to cover the cost of major dental care. People without insurance tend to experience greater variability in dental costs than those with insurance. Major procedures like root canals and crowns are usually more expensive than simpler ones like cleanings and fillings, but Delta Dental helps to keep out-of-pocket costs down.

Having dental insurance means employees will enjoy increased savings in the form of:

  • Diagnostic and preventive care covered at low or no cost
  • Lower costs for expensive procedures (since the cost is shared by the plan)
  • Discounted fees at in-network dentists

Going to dentists within the Delta Dental network also means that your employees will have safeguards and guarantees in place to ensure that they’re getting both great value and great service. When your employees need major care or have issues with their dentists, a Delta Dental plan can mean the difference between simple predictable costs and unpleasant surprise bills.

This open enrollment season, don’t forget to show your employees how dental insurance is an important part of their benefits package. Help employees make decisions that will let them save money and stay healthy.

When life happens, there’s Smile On

As a benefits administrator, you know that people’s life circumstances can change at the drop of a hat. Most people get their insurance coverage through work, but what happens when they retire, lose their job or take a break from work? That’s when the Smile On program is there for them.

Smile On is a program designed to help employees with group benefits transition to individual plans. With this program, your employees don’t have to worry about losing dental insurance when their employer-offered coverage ends.

Smile On helps your employees stay covered

Retiring, being in between jobs, or being a contractor or part-timer shouldn’t mean going without dental coverage. That’s why Delta Dental offers the Smile On program.

Smile On offers an easy way to connect your employees with existing individual plans. Smile On plans are new coverage and not a continuation of plans your employees may currently have, but they still provide the essential coverage that helps your employees stay healthy and save money on dental costs. They’ll enjoy the peace of mind knowing that what’s important is covered.

Best of all, getting a plan is something that employees can handle all on their own. They just need to visit the Smile On page, get a quote and choose from the plans available in their ZIP code.

Smile On is easy to promote

You won’t be going it alone when you present Smile On to your employees. There’s a flyer you can use help them understand all that the program offers.

Remember, when your employees need coverage the most, Smile On helps you meet their needs.

Grin! for Kids: value-added resource for dental plans

Educating families about dental care in creative ways gives them incentives to take advantage of Delta Dental plan benefits. The way to engage children in dental care is to give them opportunities to learn about taking care of the teeth, gums and mouth so that their smiles are healthy.

Grin! for Kids is a coloring and activity book with fun, educational projects for children in grades K‑5. It is a valuable free resource that adds value to a Delta Dental plan. The book can be printed out at home for easy access, as parents show children about preventive care and explain how important it is.

Each issue of Grin! for Kids, available in English and Spanish, contains new ideas and information that your employees’ families can share as they maintain regular visits to their dentist under their plan.

« Older posts

© 2021 Word of Mouth

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑