It’s human nature to procrastinate, and it seems like every year flies by quicker than the one before it. Bearing that in mind, there’s a big chance that you’ve reached December without scheduling your annual dental checkup. In a season filled with holiday planning, mall trips and the end-of-year crunch at work, your oral health may be the last thing on your mind. However, with the link of gum disease to several other serious conditions, you should commit to making it a priority to keep your dental needs accounted for.
Here is a checklist for dental patients to follow for the end of the year:
- Schedule your check up. First thing’s first — you need to schedule your checkup if you haven’t had it already. If you’ve already been once this year, great! Most dental insurance plans cover 100% of two maintenance visits, so you should always schedule both. It’s imperative to have your teeth cleaned and examined twice a year by your dental professional to maintain high quality oral health.
- Double check your Flex Spend account. Flex Spend is a great thing, isn’t it? You set aside cash to use for planned medical expenses that you would otherwise pay out of pocket and get to save on your taxes. The only time it isn’t so great is when you realize you’ve set aside money in your FSA and forgotten to use it before the year ends. Poof — gone! Now is the time to make sure you don’t have any cash left in this account, and if you do, set it aside for routine dental work. If you need more extensive dental treatment, this is a great excuse to at least start the process now. You should also take this time to decide how much money to set aside for your 2017 FSA.
- Start big dental work in 2016 and finish it in 2017. Another way to maximize your savings is to schedule dental work that requires more than one visit for the end of this year, then finish it up in 2017. That way, you can use the rest of your FSA funds for the year and get another tax break for your new batch of 2017 FSA funds. Expecting a bonus at work? You can also use some of that extra cash to pay for the second round of work in the new year.
- Have a game plan for dental emergencies on vacation. A problem with one of your teeth or some other part of your mouth can feel like a disaster on vacation, especially if you’re trying to enjoy quality time with family during the holidays. Though no one wants to think this will happen to them, it’s important to anticipate issues that can arise while away from home, especially if you already know you’re prone to dental issues. Make sure you have both your dentist’s phone number and email and dental insurance card (or policy number) at the ready when you’re on the road in case anything comes up. Check out our blog on how to prevent and deal with dental emergencies on vacation to learn more.
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Following this brief end-of-year dental checklist is an easy way to make sure you maximize your savings in addition to addressing your ongoing oral health. Check off all of these items to ensure a bright, healthy smile going into the new year.