Tricare options make dental upkeep simple

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- The field of dental health has come a long way in the last 100 years. Painful toothaches, bleeding gums, bad breath and difficulty eating were common at the turn of the century, and many people age 65 and older had already lost most or all their teeth. Today, things are very different and most people work hard to take care of their teeth. Many children have never had a cavity thanks to fluorinated water, sealants and good daily dental care.

Other ways to ensure good dental health are to:
 Avoid eating or drinking items with high sugar content - if you do, brush immediately afterward
 Brush at least twice a day - especially before bed
 Clean between teeth daily with floss or interdental brushes
 Visit your dentist regularly 

Military dental treatment facilities provide care for active-duty members, and family members are seen on a space available basis.

The Tricare Dental Program is a great benefit for active-duty family members, reservists and reserve family members. TDP is a voluntary, premium based dental insurance program that offers coverage for dental procedures received from certified host nation providers. The TDP program in Europe is the same one that covers military families in the states, except it actually offers better benefits. 

Information regarding the TDP include:
 Monthly premiums for a single family member are $12.12 or $30.29 for multiple family members -- premium costs are adjusted each February. The government pays 60 percent of the cost of the dental insurance premiums.
 Each enrollee is covered for a maximum of $1,200 per contract year - Feb. 1 through Jan. 31 -- for most routine services.
 TDP offers a lifetime maximum benefit of $1,500 for orthodontics. Outside the continental U.S., the benefit is 50 percent of the total cost.
 Maternity Dental Benefit allows for a third dental cleaning for mothers-to-be in a consecutive 12-month period at no additional charge

How do you enroll?
 You can enroll in the TDP at the United Concordia Companies, Inc. Web site online or via mail. Sponsors must enroll for a minimum of 12 months. You may e-mail UCCI at oconus@ucci.com or visit their Web site, www.TRICAREdentalprogram.com.
 No referral is needed for routine dental care. Non-availability forms are needed for orthodontics and implants.
 "Preferred Dentists" will submit the claim for you with UCCI - it is best to check before you get care since you may have to "pay and claim" with some dental providers.

Retirees living overseas can now take advantage of the Enhanced-Overseas Tricare Retiree Dental Program. The TRDP is a voluntary dental benefits program with enrollee-paid premiums, administered by the Federal Services division of Delta Dental of California. Visit www.trdp.org for more details on the program and coverage specifics.

Editor's Note: September is Health Benefits Awareness Month.