Take full advantage of your insurance coverage while you have it

Preparing Your Teeth for Retirement

by Marzena Makuta

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As you prepare for retirement, you are no doubt thinking about finances, where will you live, and what you will do when you have more time. But there is one more area that you need to think about: your mouth. If you have dental insurance through your work, it will no longer be there when you retire. So, now is the time to prepare.

First, talk to your dentist well in advance. Ideally, you should mention your plans a few years before. If you tell them you are retiring in a month, that might not be enough time to do all the treatments you need. In addition, most insurance policies have a yearly maximum. If you have large old fillings that are breaking down, start getting them replaced or crowned about five years before your retirement day. This should give your dentist a reasonable amount of time to do all the work necessary and to use your insurance coverage wisely.

Here is the recommended schedule:

  • 3 to 5 years before retirement: Talk to your dentist about your upcoming retirement. Mention your time frame. Ask for a thorough checkup. Based on the results of your checkup, ask the dentist for a treatment plan that will accommodate your schedule and allow you to maximize your insurance. Then follow your dentist's recommendation.
  • 1 year before retirement: Verify with your dentist that you are on track. Make any necessary adjustments.
  • 1 month before retirement: Schedule a checkup appointment to allow the time to take care of any last minute needs and get your teeth cleaned one last time with your insurance benefits.

By following this schedule you can take full advantage of your insurance coverage while you have it. You already paid for your dental insurance, now use it.

Reviewed August 2017

Marzena Makuta is a co-author of the book Open Wider: Your Wallet, not Your Mouth.

Take the Next Step:

  • Is retirement on the horizon? If so, then it's time to start preparing. And that includes your dental care. The first thing that you need to do is tell your dentist your plans for retirement and together come up with a treatment plan.
  • Use these guidelines to control medical costs in retirement.
  • Use this tool to maximize your retirement by determining the best age to take your Social Security benefits. Don't leave thousands on the table by taking Social Security at the wrong time.
  • Subscribe to After 50 Finances. You've learned how to work smarter, not harder. This weekly newsletter is dedicated to people just like you. Subscribers get a FREE copy of our After 50 Finances Pre-Retirement Checklist, a list of everything you need to do to be ready for retirement.

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