Where Are All the Student Dental Programs?
By Lucy Wyndham
Comprehensive dental care over the course of a person’s lifetime is becoming more and more common. However, dental care programs seem to be strangely absent for college students. Standard health care plans for students are widely available, and even though nearly 80 percent of students work while in school, it’s doubtful that many of these entry-level jobs provide dental benefit plans. It often comes down to whether or not students’ parents provide dental insurance or payment for procedures. If they don’t, it’s likely that these students don’t receive any dental care at all.
Historically, dental care has rarely been provided to college students on campuses, whereas many will furnish a student medical center for non-life-threatening issues or even medical coverage plans offered through the college. It’s been taking a surprisingly long time for this to catch on, and the reason why is anyone’s guess. Potentially, it could be cost prohibitive for college campuses.
However, some colleges with established health coverage plans also have available dental plans. Usually, these are add-ons, and they are not covered under the umbrella of a regular health care plan. In many cases, though, plans provided to college students may still be cheaper than a standard dental policy.
What Are the Options?
As things stand, school-related dental plans for students are still exceedingly rare, and if available, they should be taken advantage of. Students relying on financial aid throughout their college years will benefit from discounts on dental procedures, so this is something else to keep in mind. The current best option still seems to be staying on a parent’s insurance policy. If this is not an option, many dental companies recommend purchasing your own dental plan for the purposes of preventative care, but personal circumstances, dental health, and budget should also be taken into account, of course.
Student Dental Health
College students practice similar dental habits to others in their age group. Once a young adult moves out of the house and into the dorms, they may not take as good care of their teeth due to lack of parental supervision. This situation can result in worsening of dental health, especially for students who drink excessive alcohol, coffee, or other abrasive beverages. In short, it depends very much on the responsibility of the individual student, but on average, dental health tends to decrease while in college.
Logically, we can assume that it would be beneficial for a forward-thinking student without dental insurance to look into dental programs, discounts, or insurance. Although a student with exceptional dental health habits may not need insurance, this may not be the case for the majority. In any case, the cost of reconstructive surgery and care for dental problems far outweighs the cost of a preventative care plan in many situations. For this reason, any college student that’s unable or unwilling to stay on their parents’ health care plan should look into their more affordable care options.