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News | Feb. 10, 2022

What to Know About Preventive Dental Care

By TRICARE Communications

These days, it can be easy to forget to make an appointment to see the dentist for a routine checkup. Maybe you brush twice and floss every day. Maybe your teeth look and feel healthy. Isn’t that enough? But forgetting to visit the dentist can have a seriously negative impact on your overall oral health.
 
“Regular dentist visits are quite important to your oral health,” said Doug Elsesser, program analyst with the Defense Health Agency’s TRICARE Dental Program. “Routine cleanings can remove what even thorough brushing can’t, and that 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’s a proactive approach to dental care. Through regular cleanings and other treatments, your dentist works to stop tooth and gum problems before they arise.
 
What preventive care options does TDP cover?
As outlined in the TRICARE Dental Program Handbook, covered services for TDP enrollees include:
  • Teeth Cleanings: TDP covers two dental cleanings in a consecutive 12-month period. However, a third routine cleaning may be covered if you’re pregnant or have a chronic medical condition. According to the American Dental Association, cavity prevention is especially crucial for new moms. Even the simple act of sharing a spoon could transfer bacteria into your baby’s mouth.
  • Fluoride Treatment: TDP covers two topical fluoride treatments in a consecutive 12-month period for ages 1 and up.
  • Space Maintainers: TDP covers space maintainers for children under age 19. Space maintainers are designed to manage premature baby tooth loss. Maintainers also help prevent misalignment of teeth, overcrowding, and other orthodontic conditions.
  • Space Maintainer Care: TDP also covers the care of space maintainers for children.
  • Sealants: A sealant is a protective material your dentist may put on the tops of the teeth in the back of your mouth (usually the molars) to prevent cavities. TDP covers sealants on permanent molars for children through age 18.
 
What are my costs?
With the TDP, your cost-share depends on the type of dental service you get and your sponsor’s pay grade. For covered preventive dental services performed by a network dentist, there aren’t any out-of-pocket costs. However, you may have to pay other fees if you see a non-network dentist. Keep in mind, TDP covers two routine teeth cleanings and topical fluoride treatment in a consecutive 12-month period.
 
Brushing and flossing alone aren’t 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 Handbook for more details about your TDP benefits.
 
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